Southern Cross Route

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Southern Cross Route is a term for passenger flights from Australasia to Europe via the Western Hemisphere. The Kangaroo route is its counterpart running through the Eastern Hemisphere, with many more flights. Both terms were invented by airlines when they started flying the two routes (Qantas on the Kangaroo Route, British Commonwealth Pacific Airlines on the Southern Cross), so they have no "official" definitions; probably no airline has ever described a route from Europe to Australasia via South America as "the Southern Cross Route". (And BCPA/Qantas called it the "Southern Cross Route" when it only extended from Australia to Vancouver, before 1958.)

The February 1959 OAG shows three Qantas 1049Gs a week flying Melbourne to Heathrow via San Francisco in 65 hours total. No other airline had direct flights Europe to Australasia via North America until BOAC in 1967. 3 airlines offer through flights (i.e. not requiring passengers to change plane en route) on the Southern Cross Route: Air New Zealand, Air Tahiti Nui, and Air France.

Air New Zealand operated the AucklandLos AngelesLondon Heathrow route and an Auckland-Hong Kong-London Heathrow route, making it the only airline flying both the Southern Cross Route and the Kangaroo Route. Before Air New Zealand cancelled their Hong Kong–London flight in March 2013 in favour of a codeshare with Cathay Pacific it was the only airline still operating round-the-world service. Air Tahiti Nui and Air France both operate a TahitiLos AngelesParis-CDG route.

Several other airlines (e.g. United Airlines and Delta Air Lines) have route networks extending across the Pacific and Atlantic, but none of them currently offer through flights from Europe to Australasia. Air Canada flies to Sydney from Vancouver using the airline's new Boeing 777 aircraft. Connecting flights are available on Air Canada to London Heathrow Airport, and with Star Alliance partner Lufthansa to Frankfurt.

LAN Airlines operates service from Europe via Santiago to a host of South Pacific destinations, including Sydney and Auckland.

In the past, additional service was offered along this route. Air Tahiti Nui briefly operated a TahitiNew York JFKParis-CDG route, but it was quickly discontinued. Qantas once operated flights on this route along with the Kangaroo route, but it dropped the transatlantic flight in 1974–75 and no airline had direct flights until Air New Zealand started in the 1980s. Aerolíneas Argentinas also operated from Rome, Madrid, or Barcelona to Auckland and Sydney via Buenos Aires until 2013.


Aside from codeshares and alliances/partners, airlines on the Southern Cross Route are:

Airline Destination in Oceania Intermediate Stop Destination in Europe
Air Canada Sydney Vancouver London-Heathrow
Toronto Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Geneva, London-Heathrow, Munich, Paris-CDG, Zurich
Air France Papeete Los Angeles Paris-CDG
Air New Zealand Auckland, Rarotonga Los Angeles London-Heathrow
American Airlines Sydney Los Angeles London-Heathrow
Delta Air Lines Sydney Los Angeles London-Heathrow
Air Tahiti Nui Papeete Los Angeles Paris-CDG
LAN Airlines Auckland, Sydney
Santiago Frankfurt, Madrid
United Airlines Melbourne, Sydney Los Angeles London-Heathrow
San Francisco Frankfurt, Paris-CDG, London-Heathrow