PRZOOM - /newswire/ -
Melbourne, Australia, 2008/10/20 - Qantas today became the first airline to operate commercial A380 flights between Australia and the US West Coast, when its inaugural A380 service departed Melbourne for Los Angeles.
The flight left Melbourne at 11.15am, and is scheduled to land in Los Angeles at 7.30am, where it will be met by Qantas Ambassador-at-Large John Travolta, Australian entertainment legend Olivia Newton-John and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
The Chief Executive Officer of Qantas, Mr Geoff Dixon, said Qantas' decision to fly its first commercial service to the United States was a mark of its commitment to growing the trans-Pacific market.
"We have operated air services between Australia and the United States since 1954 and have invested significantly over our 54 years of operation to develop these routes.
"Today, we offer 47 services a week to the US, plus daily extensions to New York. In fact, we offer more services to the USA than any other international market with the exception of New Zealand," he said.
Mr Dixon said Qantas would follow its Melbourne-Los Angeles inaugural A380 service with its first Sydney-Los Angeles service on Friday, 24 October.
The Qantas A380 is configured with 450 seats in four cabins - 14 in First Class, 72 in Business Class, 32 in Premium Economy and 332 in Economy Class - with interiors designed by world renowned Australian industrial designer and Qantas Creative Director Marc Newson.
Mr Dixon said Qantas would take delivery of three A380 aircraft by the end of 2008, and have eight in service by the end of 2009. Its 20-strong order would be delivered by the end of 2013.
"By the end of 2009, when our eighth aircraft has been delivered, Qantas will offer daily A380 services to Los Angeles from Melbourne."
He said the airline's first A380 services to London, via Singapore, would commence in January 2009.
The first Qantas A380 is named Nancy-Bird Walton after the 92 year-old Australian aviation pioneer.
Qantas and the USA
Qantas operates its own flights to Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Honolulu and, with its codeshare partners, offers services to a total of 25 destinations in the USA and Canada. Qantas currently operates 47 return services per week between Australia and the USA, including 38 services to Los Angeles - comprising 17 non-stop from Sydney, 14 from Melbourne, (seven non-stop and seven via Auckland) and daily services from Brisbane. Qantas also operates four return services per week to Honolulu and five return services per week between Sydney and San Francisco. Qantas operates daily services to New York, via Los Angeles. In addition to the Qantas operations, Jetstar operates five services per week between Sydney and Honolulu.
Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (3837)
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