Qantas is set to announce two new non-stop air routes from Brisbane to the US, in a fillip for international tourism in the state.
The airline is poised to launch services to San Francisco and Chicago – the first direct link to the “Windy City” from anywhere in Australia.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce will announce the two new routes, pending full approval from the US Department of Transportation of a new business deal between the Australian carrier and American Airlines.
The final decision is expected within weeks, with seats going on sale immediately afterwards and the first flights set for early next year.
The frequency of services is not yet known.
The new routes will be operated by Qantas’ long-distance Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.
Mr Joyce said: “The launch of 787 flights from Brisbane to Chicago and San Francisco would be a win for customers and tourism.
“These flights would make it one stop from Chicago to Hamilton Island or San Francisco to Townsville.”
The addition of Chicago to the Qantas network also opens up further connections from there, via American Airline’s 500 flights a day to 143 destinations.
The US remains one of Queensland’s top target markets for international tourists, with the number of inbound American visitors projected to increase nearly 70 per cent to 360,000 a year by 2027.
Premier and Trade Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk said: “As the world’s largest economy, the US offers enormous potential.
“The new routes would pump more than $150 million into the Queensland economy over the next three years.”
The Dreamliner carries 236 passengers in three cabins: business suite (nicknamed mini-first-class), premium economy and economy.
Qantas currently has eight 787-9s, with six more arriving from October. Four of the fleet will be based in Brisbane.
The airline operates a daily Dreamliner service from Brisbane to Los Angeles, connecting on to New York. It has previously flagged interest in adding Seattle and Vancouver.
Mr Joyce will also today reveal the name of one of its new Dreamliners to be delivered later this year, hinting that it will be a nod to Queensland.
There is already one called Great Barrier Reef.
Originally published via The Courier Mail.