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Qantas sets April 20 2020 start date for Brisbane-Chicago

written by australianaviation.com.au | July 24, 2019

A file image of a Qantas Boeing 787-9 at Brisbane Airport. (Rob Finlayson)
A file image of a Qantas Boeing 787-9 at Brisbane Airport. (Rob Finlayson)

Qantas will add a sixth destination to its United States network from April 20 2020 when it commences nonstop flights between Brisbane and Chicago O’Hare.

The Brisbane-Chicago flight, as well as a Brisbane-San Francisco, were first announced in June, shortly after the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) gave tentative approval for Qantas’s proposed alliance with American Airlines.

However, there was no launch date given at the time, given the two carriers were awaiting final approval from the DOT, which came through on July 19.

Qantas announced the April 20 2020 commencement date and the start of ticket sales for its four times weekly Brisbane-Chicago nonstop service on Wednesday. It will be the only airline offering nonstop flights between Chicago and Australia.

“We expect the flights will be popular with corporate travellers looking to do business there, but also with tourists wanting to experience some of the culture and history that Chicago is famous for,” Qantas international acting chief executive Naren Kumar said in a statement.


The route will be served with three-class Boeing 787-9s configured with 236 seats featuring 42 in business class in a 1-2-1 configuration offering direct aisle access for every passenger, 28 in premium economy laid out 2-3-2 across and 166 in economy in a 3-3-3 layout with 32in seat pitch and 17.2in seat width.

At 7,735nm, the Brisbane-Chicago service will be the fourth longest flight in the world and the second longest flight on Qantas’s network behind Perth-London Heathrow (7,829nm).

Qantas said the nonstop link to Chicago would save travellers more than six hours on a return trip, compared with existing connecting itineraries. Further, passengers travelling on the new route would be able to book onward connections on American Airlines’ network to destinations in Canada and the north-eastern United States.

A file image of a Qantas Boeing 787-9 at Brisbane Airport. (Rob Finlayson)
A file image of a Qantas Boeing 787-9 at Brisbane Airport. (Rob Finlayson)

Meanwhile, Qantas said the new three times weekly Brisbane-San Francisco service would commence on February 9 2020. The route will also be served with 787-9 equipment.

Kumar said the route would cater for Australian entrepreneurs wanting to connect with Silicon Valley and San Francisco’s world-leading technology companies, as well as leisure travellers.

Currently, the Australian carrier serves five destinations in the United States from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney – Dallas/Fort Worth, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York JFK and San Francisco – with a mixture of Airbus A380, Boeing 747 and 787-9 equipment, as well as A330s to Honolulu.

It flies from Brisbane to Los Angeles, Sydney to Dallas/Fort Worth, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York JFK and San Francisco, and Melbourne to Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the new flights from Chicago and San Francisco were expected to pump more than $150 million into the Queensland economy over the next three years.

Separately, Qantas said on Wednesday it would increase flights between Brisbane and Los Angeles from 10 to 13 per week during the peak season from January 2 February 8 2020.

Qantas expanded its international business lounge by 25 per cent this year in response to flight demand from Brisbane.

Flight Route  Depart  Arrive  Days  Flight time 
QF85  Brisbane-Chicago  15:30  16:40  Monday, Wedesday, Friday, Saturday  16h20 
QF86  Chicago-Brisbane  21:50  06:10+2  Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday  17h20 
QF59  Brisbane-San Francisco  20:35  15:15  Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday  12h40 
QF60  San Francisco-Brisbane  22:15  06:00+2  Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday  13h45 

*Qantas says the QF85 and QF86 flight numbers for its upcoming Chicago flights “pays homage” to the Chicago Bears National Football League team, which won the title in the 1985 season. The Bears beat the New England Patriots 46-10 in Super Bowl XX, held at the Louisiana Superdome on January 26, 1986.

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