MIAMI — Qantas will begin serving Dallas / Ft. Worth International Airport with the world’s largest passenger jet, the Airbus A380, on September 29th of this year. It will be the first to operate the super jumbo at the airfield.
The Australian flag carrier began serving Dallas in May of 2011, with a Boeing 747-400, which be placed elsewhere in the Qantas system. The route became the world’s longest non-stop flight by distance late last year after Singapore Airlines retired its Singapore to Newark/LAX flights. It comes in at an impressive 8,577.4 miles (13,804km). Thanks to a more than ten percent increase in seat capacity on the route, Qantas is cutting back the flights from daily to six times weekly. Tuesday, a typically slower day for travel, received the ax.
The introduction of the A380 also renders the route a true non-stop. At the moment, Sydney to Dallas was non-stop, while the return required a fueling stop in Brisbane. The A380 has the range to complete the trip without the stop in Brisbane. Further, it adds a dedicated first class cabin on the route.
The carrier pointed to increased utilization of the A380 as the primary driver behind the decision to up-gauge the route. It also announced the retiming of Melbourne-Dubai-London route in part for the same reason.
Qantas has been aggressively tweaking its fleet and route network since it announced massive losses in February of 2014. It has already announced the retirement of many of its Boeing 747 aircraft along with 737-400s and 767s, and has put a stop to all A380 deliveries. It also cut and retimed several routes. The carrier believes such changes will account for up to $600 million in savings out of the $2 billion it needs to slash from its budget in order to hope to right the ship.
No matter the reason, the decision to place the airplane on the Dallas route is certainly welcome news for D/FW, which will now be receiving two A380s in the fall. Emirates will begin A380 service to Dubai on October 1, only two days after Qantas. The Dubai-based super carrier had announced the service back in April.
The airport is currently adjusting two gates in its international terminal D to handle the jet.