It’s a big day for Qantas. The airline’s first Dreamliner 787 service to Los Angeles takes off today, and it’s also revealed the name of its second Dreamliner (“Waltzing Matilda”) and announced a new route: Melbourne to San Francisco.

San Francisco becomes the second US city to get direct flights from Melbourne (alongside Los Angeles, which is serviced by an A380 and 787).

Qantas already flies direct from Sydney to San Francisco. The new Melbourne-San Francisco route, to be operated by a Dreamliner, is expected to commence in late 2018 with tickets on sale from early 2018.

Capacity between Melbourne and the US will be rebalanced to match demand for the two Californian cities, meaning that the Dreamliner will fly to Los Angeles some days of the week and San Francisco other days.

According to Qantas, a significant number of Melbourne passengers flying to Los Angeles already connect to San Francisco. The airline says there is also strong demand from San Francisco, both from a tourism perspective and because of the business links between Melbourne and Silicon Valley.

Qantas has so far taken delivery of two Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. The arrival of its third and fourth aircraft early next year will enable the national carrier to start its historic Perth-London flight, which originates in Melbourne.

All eight aircraft will be delivered by the end of 2018, with half based in Melbourne and half based in Brisbane.

To get news like this delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe to our newsletter:

We'll never spam you or share your email!