Qantas has revamped its schedule to the United States and will now offer passengers heading across the Pacific from Sydney the choice of morning, afternoon and early evening flights as well as new three-times-weekly evening services from Melbourne from early 2015.
As part of the changes announced on Friday, Melbourne will have 10 flights a week to Los Angeles year-round, with a second service (QF95/96) operated by Boeing 747-400 aircraft to run on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday evenings from January 21 2015.
Qantas had announced in June Melbourne would get three extra flights over the peak summer holiday period from December to January.
From Sydney, Qantas will from February 1 2015 shift the departure time of the QF11 flight to Los Angeles to 0950, from 1305 currently. Meanwhile, QF107, which currently flies from Sydney to Los Angeles and onwards to New York, will be replaced by QF17, a Sydney-Los Angeles service that departs at 1730.
The Flying Kangaroo’s Dallas/Fort Worth service, QF7, is unchanged as a lunchtime departure from Sydney. As already announced DFW services will switch to the A380 and operate the return leg (QF8) direct to Sydney from next month.
Finally from Brisbane, the airline’s QF15 flight to Los Angeles will remain as a morning flight operated by Boeing 747-400s but will continue onto New York’s John F Kennedy International airport. Passengers from Sydney and Melbourne heading to New York will take the morning flight to Los Angeles and connect onto QF15.
Qantas international chief executive Simon Hickey said the changes to the schedule were part of the airline’s cost-saving program currently underway.
“As part of our strategy to build a stronger Qantas, we’ve introduced a new approach to aircraft utilisation so we can take advantage of opportunities in the market,” Hickey said in a statement.
“It means adjusting our schedules across the network to ensure our fleet spend less time on the ground and more time in the air.”
Qantas said fleet and network adjustments would save up to $600 million over three years.
The airline hoped to lower costs by $2 billion over the next three years in a bid to return to profitability.
All flights heading back to Australia from either Los Angeles or Dallas/Fort Worth will depart at night.
As previously announced, Qantas is adding a fourth weekly service from Sydney to Santiago, Chile from February 20.
The extra flights from Melbourne come as Virgin Australia pulls out of the Melbourne-Los Angeles market in October and as United Airlines commences direct services on the route using Boeing 787-9 aircraft.