Qantas Flights 7 and 8
Qantas Flight 7 (QF7/QFA7)[a] and Qantas Flight 8 (QF8/QFA8)[a] are flights operated by Australian airline Qantas between Sydney Airport and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, which from 2013-2016 were the longest regularly scheduled non-stop commercial flights in the world. They are currently the seventh longest regularly scheduled non-stop commercial flights in the world as measured by distance[b]—13,804 kilometres (8,577 mi; 7,454 nmi), which is over one third of the distance around Earth.[c] Both flights are operated with Airbus A380 aircraft.
Qantas and American Airlines (AA) were two of the co-founding members of the Oneworld airline alliance, which was launched in 1999. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) has long been American's headquarters and largest hub and is centrally located in the United States. Dallas is less than four hours from all cities in the continental United States and AA serves more of these airports from DFW than from Los Angeles, Qantas's main gateway to the United States. Los Angeles is also an AA hub, but is significantly smaller in terms of departures and destinations and located 4-5 hours from most east coast cities. In 2012, American operated nearly 500 departing flights daily from DFW, but fewer than 100 from Los Angeles. Dallas would be a logical destination for Qantas to serve, but it only had six aircraft with the 13,804 kilometres (8,577 mi) range needed to reach Dallas and they were needed for the Melbourne-Los Angeles and Sydney-Buenos Aires routes. The Boeing 747-400ER has a range of 14,205 kilometres (8,827 mi), although winds aloft and fuel needed for holding can trim that figure.
Qantas had studied the feasibility of the Dallas route for years. At the time of the Great Recession, Qantas' Sydney-San Francisco service became unprofitable, while an open skies agreement between Australia & the US flooded the market with more capacity. In the meantime, the Boeing 747-400ER aircraft were replaced with A380s on the Melbourne-LA route. According to Qantas CEO Alan Joyce: "a lot of things clicked on this and it made absolute sense for us to devote aircraft resources to this destination." By flying to Dallas, Qantas can offer passengers a 70-minute connection to domestic flights, which means onwards connections to cities like New York City, Chicago, Boston, and Miami can be up to two hours faster than transiting through Los Angeles. At launch, Qantas had codeshare agreements on 54 AA flights from DFW to cities in the US, Canada, & Mexico. When announcing the launch of A380 service, Qantas notes that DFW offers more than 30 codeshare destinations beyond the network available from Los Angeles. According to Qantas in 2014, the most popular destinations for connections with QF7 are Orlando, Boston, Houston, and New York's LaGuardia Airport.
Qantas began operating the Sydney-Dallas route—designated Flight 7 outbound and Flight 8 returning—on 16 May 2011. The route was initially flown 4 times weekly, but was upgraded to daily service on 1 July 2012. Flight 7, from Sydney to Dallas, flew non-stop in 15 hr 25 min. Due to strong headwinds, Flight 8 could not be flown non-stop and flew from Dallas to Brisbane Airport before returning to Sydney. Flights 7 & 8 were operated with a Boeing 747-400ER aircraft from 2011 until 28 September 2014.
When launched, Flight 7 was the longest regularly scheduled non-stop flight by distance operated with a Boeing 747 and the third-longest regularly scheduled non-stop commercial flight by distance[b]—behind Singapore Airlines Flights 21/22 (Newark-Singapore; 15,345 km) and Singapore Airlines Flights 37/38 (Los Angeles-Singapore; 14,114 km). However, unlike the Qantas Boeing 747-400ER, the Singapore Airlines flights were flown with Airbus A340-500 aircraft configured with an all-business class cabin that carried only 100 passengers.
Qantas Flight 7 became the second-longest regularly-scheduled non-stop commercial flight by distance when Singapore Airlines stopped flying non-stop between Singapore & Los Angeles on 20 October 2013. The final Singapore Airlines flight from Newark to Singapore departed 23 November 2013, at which point Qantas Flight 7 became the longest regularly scheduled non-stop flight by distance.[b] It held this distinction until 1 March 2016, when Emirates began a 14,203 km non-stop service, EK 448 and EK 449, between Auckland, New Zealand and Dubai, UAE.
The route suffered some setbacks during the first two weeks of operation, which called into question the feasibility of the route. On 21 May 2011, less than a week after commencing operations on the route, Qantas offloaded three containers of luggage in Dallas in order to reach Brisbane without the need to make an unplanned stop for fuel. Affected passengers waited 24 hours for their luggage to arrive via Los Angeles. Qantas claimed they were forced to make the decision "due to load restrictions as a result of unseasonably strong winds." On 23 May, Flight 7 was forced to divert to Houston because it lacked enough fuel to circle Dallas until thunderstorms—typical during summertime—cleared, resulting in a two-hour delay. Then on 30 May, Flight 8 made an unplanned stop in Nouméa, New Caledonia, when its pilots decided it was safer to stop and refuel there than continue on to Brisbane.. Again On 18 Feb, 2018 Flight 7 was forced to divert to Houston because it lacked enough fuel to circle Dallas due to thunderstorms.
In May 2014, Qantas announced that Flight 7 and Flight 8 would be operated by the Airbus A380 beginning 29 September 2014, at which point Flight 8's intermediate stop in Brisbane would be terminated. Although frequency will be reduced from seven to six flights per week, the larger capacity of the A380 results in an increase in weekly capacity on the route of more than ten percent. The A380s are configured into four classes, and brings the addition of first class to the route.
The first A380 aircraft to operate Flight 7/8 sported a special livery: the kangaroo painted on the aircraft's empennage (tail) wore a white cowboy hat and star-speckled blue kerchief around its neck. The hat and kerchief pay homage to the Dallas region's strong association with cowboy culture and the red background, white kangaroo/hat, and star-speckled blue are suggestive of the US flag. With the change in aircraft, Qantas became the first airline to operate an A380 at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, although Emirates began A380 to DFW just 2 days later.
Qantas Flight 7 operates from Sydney Airport (IATA: SYD) near Sydney, New South Wales, Australia to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (IATA: DFW) near the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth in Texas, USA. Qantas Flight 8 is the return flight from Dallas/Fort Worth to Sydney. Through a codeshare agreement with American Airlines, these flights are marketed as American Airlines Flight 7308 (AA7308) and American Airlines Flight 7375 (AA 7375), respectively. It is one of only two non-stop routes between Australia and a US city beyond the west coast (Los Angeles or San Francisco), the other being UA 101 from Sydney to Houston. The flights originally operated six times weekly (every day except Tuesday) but moved to daily flights from April 2016. The A380 aircraft initially deployed on this route are configured in a 4-class seating with a 14-seat first class cabin, a 64-seat business class cabin, a 35-seat premium economy cabin, and a 371-seat economy class cabin.
Because of the difference in local times, Flight 7 departs Sydney, Flight 7 arrives in Dallas/Fort Worth, and Flight 8 departs Dallas/Fort Worth on the same day (local time). Since Flight 8 is both an overnight flight and crosses the International Date Line, it arrives in Sydney two days after departing Dallas/Fort Worth. For example, Flights 7/8 departing Sydney on 29 September 2014 is scheduled to fly (local times in bold):
|Departs/arrives||Sydney (AEST ; UTC+10)||Dallas (CDT ; UTC−5)||UTC||Duration|
|QF 7 departs Sydney||14:40
|QF 7 arrives in Dallas||4:00
|QF 8 departs Dallas||13:00
|QF 8 arrives in Sydney||6:05
- Common abbreviated designation of the flight using the IATA and ICAO airline designators for Qantas: QF & QFA, respectively
- As measured by the distance between the origin and destination airports. Especially on ultra-long haul flights, the exact ground distance travelled by a flight can vary substantially based on daily and seasonal weather patterns, air traffic, and other issues. Therefore, the distance between origin and destination is the only reliable way to measure the "longest flight by distance".
- The circumference of Earth is 40,075 km, so 13,804 km is 34.4% of that.
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