The first service – on May 15 1954 – was operated by a Lockheed Super Constellation which flew from Sydney to San Francisco via Fiji, Canton Island and Hawaii, before proceeding on to Vancouver. The flight took about 30 flying hours compared to less than half that today.
The trans-Pacific route is named the Southern Cross Route in honour of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and his crew’s famous aircraft which first crossed the Pacific in 1928.
“Qantas is proud of its flying history to the US. Some of our most historic moments have been on the trans-Pacific route including the start of the jet age in 1959 with our first Boeing 707 services and introducing the largest commercial passenger aircraft, the A380, on the route in 2008,” Qantas International CEO Simon Hickey said. “The milestone comes in a year where Qantas is investing significantly in the customer experience to the US, including the opening of our new First and Business Lounges in Los Angeles and the introduction of A380 services between Sydney and Dallas from September.”
Today, Qantas operates daily A380 services Sydney-Los Angeles (QF11/12) and Melbourne-Los Angeles (QF94/95), a daily 747-400 Sydney-LA-New York service (QF107/108), daily Brisbane-Los Angeles 747-400 flights (QF15/16), a daily 747-400ER service between Sydney and Dallas-Fort Worth, returning via Brisbane (QF7/8), and three flights a week between Sydney and Honolulu using 767-300ERs (QF3/4).
The Sydney-Dallas-Fort Worth service is due to be up-gauged to a six-times-a-week A380 from September 29 with the return Brisbane stop to be dropped.