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Monday, July 22, 2024

Qantas Launches First Nonstop Melbourne To Dallas Service

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Yesterday, amid a sea of cowboy hats, and red, white, and blue bunting, Qantas launched the first-ever direct flight between Melbourne and Dallas, Texas. All that was missing was the arrival of a cowboy or cowgirl on horseback to cut the ceremonial ribbon, but that was left to senior executives from Qantas, Stephen Thompson on the left and from Melbourne Airport Jim Parashos, although it was overseen by a cowboy.

Qantas Stephen Thompson and MEL Jim Parashos

Photo: Michael Doran I Simple Flying

No more LAX layovers for Melbourne passengers

Before yesterday, Melburnian’s wanting to fly with Qantas to Dallas needed to go via Sydney, which has a direct Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) service, or through the Qantas hub at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Qantas executive manager Australian sales Stephen Thompson launched the new route by saying it will satisfy a lot of pent-up demand for direct travel between Melbourne and the United States. He added:


“Dallas is a natural gateway as it’s a major hub for our biggest partner in America, American Airlines, where we can connect to more than 200 destinations across the US, and it’s a great gateway to the Caribbean and Latin America.”

This is the eighth new international route launched by Qantas since Australia’s borders reopened and the second for Melbourne, following the launch of direct flights to Delhi. It is operating with a Boeing 787-9, but with Qantas bringing back its sixth Airbus A380 into service in the coming weeks, Simple Flying asked Thompson if the super-jumbo was an option for Melbourne-Dallas. He told us:

“The challenge with the A380 on a route like Melbourne-Dallas is the distance as it’s a seventeen-and-a-half-hour flight, and even on our flights we had operating back to Sydney, we often had weight restrictions. So the 787-9 is absolutely the perfect aircraft for a Dallas-Melbourne or Sydney route.

A roomy cabin for the marathon flight

Qantas Yam Dreaming Livery Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner VH-ZND

Photo: Vincenzo Pace I Simple Flying 

Qantas has a customer-friendly configuration of just 236 seats in its 787-9 on the route, with 42 in business, 28 in premium economy, and 166 in economy. With 30% of the aircraft filled with premium seats, SF asked Thompson about the cabin layout. He replied:

“We actually operate more premium seats on our 787-9 than a lot of other carriers, and that’s mainly due to the distances which we travel. We’re very conscious of the need for space and comfort, so our weighting for premium classes is far greater than a lot of other carriers.”

Qantas 787 Business Class Cabin

Photo: Qantas

Melbourne Airport is working towards daily DFW

Jim Parashos, Melbourne Airport’s chief of aviation, pointed out this was now the longest flight sector operated from MEL and is only 28 kilometers (17 miles) short of the Qantas nonstop from Perth to London Heathrow (LHR). He said it was a massive vote of confidence from Qantas in Melbourne to deploy the 787 Dreamliner to Dallas. He added:

“In today’s environment of high fuel and operating costs and a really constrained environment in terms of aircraft, airlines have difficult choices to make about where they deploy their aircraft and Qantas’ vote of confidence in Melbourne speaks for itself.

Parashos also said that while the service will start three times weekly, the airport “will be working with Qantas to build it up to a daily frequency.” Looking to the future and the airport’s growth, he said:

“By about 2030, Melbourne will be the largest city in Australia and, all things being equal, Melbourne will become the country’s largest airport by 2035, so joining Melbourne – Dallas was a logical step.”

The nonstop connection is made

The inaugural service, Qantas QF21, was operated with a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, registration VH-ZNH and MSN 36241, that departed Melbourne Airport (MEL) at 16:38. Data from Flightradar24.com, shows the four-year-old Dreamliner covered the great circle distance of 14,472 kilometers (8,992 miles) in 15:18 hours, landing in the US at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) at 14:56. The return QF22 is scheduled to depart DFW at 19:10 on Saturday and will land in Melbourne on Monday at 05:45.

Qantas QF21 Melbourne MEL to Dallas DFW 031222

Data: Flightradar24.com

Pent-up demand in Australia is one thing, but for the route to prove successful, it needs to entice Americans to head down under. On the two-way prospects, Qantas’ Thompson said:

“We know there’s a big demand for traffic out of the US to Australia and Melbourne, and we see exciting opportunities for the American tourism market to come here. We’re the number one aspirational destination that they have, and the more direct flights we can provide, we’re very confident this route will do exceptionally well.”

Initially, the schedule is for afternoon flights departing Melbourne on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday and early evening departures from Dallas/Fort Worth on the same days. From late March 2023, that is scheduled to change to Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. The arrivals in Melbourne and Dallas are timed for convenient onward connections, and with Melbourne operating 24/7, the early morning arrival is another benefit to connecting passengers.

How does the thought of a 17½ economy flight sound? Let us know in the comments.

  • /wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Qantas-Yam-Dreaming-Livery-Boeing-787-9-Dreamliner-VH-ZND-4-1000x1000.jpg


    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Brisbane Airport, Melbourne Airport, Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport

    Year Founded:


    Alan Joyce


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