For the better part of the last half-century, Qantas’ Boeing 747s have been flying to the United States from Australia, a staple of U.S-Australia connections. With Qantas’ impending retirement of the aircraft in favor of its next-generation aircraft, the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, however, only one remaining transpacific route from Australia to the mainland U.S. still sees the jumbo jet, but not for long.
Qantas has announced that from Dec. 4, 2019, the Boeing 747-400 that currently connects Sydney and San Francisco will be replaced by the carrier’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. The last Qantas 747 passenger flight to grace the mainland U.S. with its presence will operate as QF73 departing on Dec. 3 and will likely fly from San Francisco to retirement in the California desert following the flight from Sydney. San Francisco is one of five international Dreamliner destinations for Qantas, inaugurated as such last year.
This isn’t the last time that the U.S. will see the aircraft as the Sydney-Honolulu route will still see the aircraft until it is eventually replaced by another Qantas aircraft. Qantas has also been steadily retiring its Boeing 747s, once the flagship and sole member of its fleet, over the past few years to their final resting places in the California desert following transpacific hops from the Land Down Under.
Los Angeles, once a major terminus for Qantas 747s, saw its last visit from the Australian Queen of the Skies at the end of 2018 with the final route being Brisbane-Los Angeles. The airline is taking delivery of six additional Dreamliners which will fuel its international expansion, including on this route, but will also accelerate the retirement of the remaining 747 with the timeline for retirement moved up to the end of 2020.
The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner has been one of the most ambitious aircraft in Qantas’ fleet. In the past year, the aircraft has replaced the Boeing 747-400 on the Brisbane-Los Angeles-New York route, inaugurated the Melbourne to San Francisco and launched the only nonstop connection between Australia and the United Kingdom on the Perth-London route.
Featuring a three-class configuration, Qantas’ Dreamliners consist of business class, premium economy class and economy class. Though the route will see a loss of capacity by over 100 seats, passengers can enjoy Qantas’ latest premium class products in both business class and premium economy class.
From December on, the mainland United States will be exclusively served by the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner and Airbus A380, marking a new era for Australia’s national airline in the United States and changing the face of U.S.-Australia connections.