American Airlines and Qantas are using the Australian flag carrier’s new B747 service from Sydney to Dallas/Fort Worth, which will start in May, as a springboard for further commercial partnerships, which could see the Qantas network gaining an additional 13 new US and three Mexican destinations through AA-operated codeshare agreements.
Speaking exclusively to Routes News about the new Sydney–North Texas service, Jeff Fegan, CEO of DFW, says that the new route is expected to bring significant economic benefit to the state, as well as creating more oneworld opportunities for the hub.
If approved by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and other relevant authorities, the commercial agreement would see Qantas codesharing with American to a total of 51 destinations in the US, Canada and Mexico.
For DFW, the flight presents a huge opportunity. “This is an exciting new route and we characterise it as a real game changer that opens DFW to a new part of the world,” says Fegan. “Australia is a great leisure and business market and this new route is a great opportunity for economic growth. It is estimated that four weekly international flights will bring $131 million a year in economic benefits. It also opens up two major Australian cities to North Texas.”
Fegan adds that the addition of Qantas to the airport marks a new era for oneworld at the American Airlines hub. “We will be seeing more oneworld activity here, as the connections beyond DFW are quite extraordinary. Qantas is a big one for us,” he notes.
With the new Qantas service, DFW has 188 destinations, including 144 domestic and 44 international points.
Fegan continues by talking about the multitude of connecting opportunities at either end of the new service.
“American has 750 departures a day here at DFW, so Qantas passengers can connect efficiently throughout the Eastern USA, Caribbean and Mexico,” he says. “Sydney also opens up destinations in South East Asia that we have seen demand for, including Singapore, Bangkok and Vietnam.”
From Sydney Qantas flies to 18 destinations in Australia and 21 international points, in addition to the new DFW service.
Growing international network
Fegan is clear on the benefits that new non-stop international flights offer.
“We have never had a non-stop to Australia but we know, however, that when there is non-stop service, business relationships are strengthened, cargo opportunities are realised and tourism flourishes. We have seen the profound impact that Seoul and Tokyo have had. Australia is a very strong economy with many business synergies, and people from Texas feel at home there. Direct service will only strengthen these relationships,” enthuses Fegan.
In addition to Sydney and Brisbane, DFW has added new service to Rio de Janeiro and Barbados with American and Veracruz and Queretaro in Mexico with American Eagle for 2011. Rio will be served three times a week with a B767-300 and Barbados three times weekly with a B747 aircraft. Both Veracruz and Queretaro are daily service, with regional jet aircraft.
While DFW clearly characterised as an oneworld hub, Fegan is quick to point out that it also has airlines from competing alliances, including Lufthansa.
For DFW the arrival of Qantas and the addition of two new international destinations is a reason to celebrate, but over on the West Coast San Francisco will be waving goodbye to its current four-times weekly B747 Sydney service. Qantas will continue to serve Los Angeles from both Melbourne and Sydney.
This article features in Routes News 2011 Issue 1