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General News Last modified on June 17, 2019

Brisbane set to become first Australian airport to offer direct flights to Chicago

Brisbane Airport (BNE) is set to become the first Australian gateway to offer direct flights to Chicago when Qantas launches a new four-times weekly service in April 2020. 

The new route is subject to the approval of the United States Department of Transportation, and comes at the same time as Qantas revealed plans to launch three-times weekly flights between BNE and San Francisco, also set to launch by the end of April 2020.

This will be the first time these two cities have had non-stop services from Queensland with Qantas scheduling its state-of-the-art Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner aircraft on each route.

Gert-Jan de Graaff, BAC CEO, said the new routes offered untapped potential for growth in tourism, trade, investment, education and business sectors that would ripple throughout the city and the entire state of Queensland.

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He said: "Brisbane Airport is excited to be partnering with Qantas and key Government stakeholders to bring these new direct links to Chicago and San Francisco to fruition.

"Relative to the size of the market and overall demand, Queensland has been under-served from the USA, and these new services will go some way to addressing pent up demand.

"Direct flights into Chicago, the heart of mid-west USA, and San Francisco the cultural, commercial, and financial centre of Northern California, are a game changer for Brisbane and Queensland, positioning Brisbane as the best gateway to and from North America."

De Graaff continues: "These network connections will strengthen ties, investment and education opportunities with US companies and universities in areas such as digital technology, life sciences, biotechnology and renewables.

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"With North American being Queensland’s fifth-largest two-way goods trade partner, valued at $8.7 billion in 2018, additional direct services will support increased trade opportunities.

"The flights will also bring hundreds of thousands of visitors directly into our city and state each year. Visitors who will travel throughout our state from the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, to the Outback, the Whitsundays, and to the Tropical North.

"For Queenslanders, direct flights into more parts of North America are a more convenient way to travel, saving time by avoiding multiple connections and providing greater choice of entry points into the USA."

The new Chicago and San Francisco flights will boost capacity between Queensland and the USA to more than 641,000 two-way seats each year, including flights to Los Angeles and Honolulu and services offered by other carriers.