Feb 4, 2013

Qantas and faint hopes for an American Airlines 777 DFW-SYD

American Airlines puts its first 777-300ER into service, but unfortunately, not between Dallas-Fort Worth and Sydney.

Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

[caption id="attachment_28989" align="aligncenter" width="610" caption="Must admire the gritty reality of this AA shot of the new 773ER being loaded including scratched ramp tug"][/caption] Warning, fantasy follows American Airlines has started 777-300ER flights between Dallas Fort Worth and Sao Paulo, which is not just a reminder of how important Brazil is becoming as a major economy, but a cause for astonishment as until now no US airline has put this incredibly successful and efficient Boeing model into service. (Delta flies the 777-200LR). Boeing 777-300ERs have helped Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Air New Zealand, Air Canada and Virgin Australia eat Qantas's lunch wherever they have used them on routes with first order relevance to Australia and its international air connections. The fantasy element is also the obvious one now that American has joined the 777-300ER club.  Imagine how effective it would be on the Sydney-Dallas Fort Worth route if it were to replace the range and payload challenged Qantas 747-400ER service that goes non-stop outbound but now appears to have been quietly rescheduled in recent times as an occasional one-stop inbound via Auckland in place of the Brisbane plus occasional mystery South Pacific extra stop owing to unfavorable headwinds and out of date technology. American and Qantas are business partners. Bring it on, it our dreams of course. At the moment coming back from DFW via anything is not as fast a way to get from anywhere in the US to Sydney or Melbourne as it is to connect to the non-stop Qantas A380 or 747 flights from LAX. There are only four airliners that can be considered applicable to high payload non-stop services both ways between DFW-SYD. They are the 777-300ER (which will at times be payload limited), the 777-200LR, (unlimited) the Airbus A340-500 (unlimited) and the A380, which in current and soon to enter service increased gross weight versions, will also experience some load limits in realistic route conditions on the way back. There is an annoying ETOPS area  in the middle eastern Pacific that can sometimes enter the route planning calculations according to sources. But not a huge issue. It is obvious that reliable and attractive commercial loads non-stop both ways between DFW-SYD would make an enormous contribution to better use of American's home town Texas hub.  With Qantas deferring two A380s until who knows when, and which could have been the higher range payload version with an extra 400 nms range, the least improbable next option to make the route work would have to be AA 777-300ERs. Unfortunately it seems that AA can make better returns on these jets flying to Brazil, or China, or elsewhere in Asia across the north Pacific than it can flying them to Australia, on routes which it long ago left in the care of Qantas code shares rather than fly in its own right. In other news ANA, the lead customer for the Boeing 787, is reported to be pressing Boeing to speed up delivery of three remaining 777-300ERs on order to help cover some of the capacity lost in the grounding the Dreamliners, which Boeing continues to insist are safe, and keeps inferring ought not be subject to indefinite grounding preceding definitive identification of the causes of battery failures that lead to the crisis which it insists will not cause  delays to deliveries scheduled for as soon as this April. Which just goes to show that there are more fantasies about Boeings out there at the moment than the straightforward use of 777s between Dallas and Sydney by the Qantas that always derided them as outdated technology! Another less than stellar quality American Airlines supplied photo of the new livery on its first 777-300ER is shown below.

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5 thoughts on “Qantas and faint hopes for an American Airlines 777 DFW-SYD

  1. keesje

    If things had gone as they were suppose to go, Qantas would be operating 50-60 super efficient 787-8s and -9s by now.

    Would that have made a significant difference during the last 3-4 yrs?


  2. Glen McCabe

    Ben, do you have any idea how often the DFW-SYD flight is diverted to AKL or a Pacific island stop?

    I ask because… the thought of that flight stopping in AKL to refuel makes me really annoyed. If I could fly AKL-DFW then I would be an instant convert to that service given the huge time savings (frequently flying from Auckland to a non-major eastern US airport) even despite the poor standard of AA’s domestic regional fleet (MD-80s in 2013, ugh).

    If the risk of diversion is high, why doesn’t QF schedule a stop in AKL? While it would add time on the SYD-DFW leg to be sure, it would bring certainly to pax, bring back the US-NZ service it took away last year, and also bring a new destination/transfer point to NZ travellers, surely a potential niche for QF to exploit…

    Oh and on the subject of dreams, could Delta’s B772LRs conceivably do ATL-AKL non-stop? Probably not economic for DL, but that would really change the NZ-US route game…

  3. patrick kilby

    I am not sure the diversion are that high (much the same as LA-Melb i.e 3-4 a year), the issue is the Bris stopover, which offers good connections to everywhere else except Sydney!!!

  4. Ben Sandilands

    There was a series of Auckland stops during December with crew telling me that had been rostered to meet the jet.

    There may be a prudent issue at the height of summer with the risk of Rockhampton not being available as a natural last moment alternative to Brisbane, but I don’t know.

    There is also evident confusion among some staff over conflicting signals re the scheduling of the route.

    My understanding is that the 200LR is not viable for an Atlanta non-stop.

  5. Glen McCabe

    Thanks Ben, sounds like a bit of a mess re the technical stops…

    and also thanks for the ATL pointer… perhaps one dream best to let go…

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