Qantas will soon launch direct Brisbane-Chicago and Brisbane-San Francisco flights as part of its joint venture with American Airlines, which received tentative approval today from the US Department of Transportation.

The airlines have welcomed the preliminary decision, which will allow for commercial integration between the two carriers, delivering new routes and other customer benefits. These include:

  • an expanded codeshare relationship and optimised schedules on trans-Pacific services, opening up more connections to more destinations and reduced total travel time
  • better access to seats on each carrier’s network, potentially leading to lower fares
  • additional frequent flyer benefits by further integrating the carrier’s programs, including higher earn rates for points on each other’s networks beyond what is possible today through oneworld, as well as increased redemption opportunities and improved reciprocal end-to-end recognition of top-tier frequent flyers
  • co-location at airports, investments in lounges, baggage systems and other infrastructure designed to better serve the carriers’ joint customers.

Qantas expects to announce details of the new Brisbane-Chicago and Brisbane-San Francisco flights once final approval of the joint venture is received in the next few weeks. The flights are expected to be operated by the airline’s advanced 787 Dreamliners.

Australian regulators have already approved the JV.

Qantas Group Chief Executive Officer, Alan Joyce, said: “Both airlines submitted a compelling proposal to the DOT that would bring significant benefits to millions of travellers and a boost to tourism.

“For more than 30 years, Qantas and American have connected the US and Australia as partners. This joint business means that we’ll be able to deepen this partnership to offer new routes, better flight connections and more frequent flyer benefits.”

As well as Chicago and San Francisco, Qantas is reportedly also looking at Seattle as a potential new destination.

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