Qantas Airways has become the second airline to announce that it will fly the double-decker Airbus A380 to Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, on flights from Sydney starting Sept. 29.
Australia’s Qantas joins Emirates airline in bringing the plane — known as “the whale” — to DFW. The Middle East carrier had announced that it will fly the A380 on its DFW-Dubai route beginning in October.
DFW is spending $2.8 million to add a jet bridge at Terminal D’s Gates 15 and 16 to accommodate the plane.
“The announcement of Qantas Airways A380 service to DFW is outstanding news for our airport and the Dallas/Fort Worth region, because it adds more seats to what has become a very popular and important route,” airport Chief Executive Sean Donohue said in a statement.
Donohue and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price recently took a trade trip to Australia to promote North Texas’ economy and tourism.
By using the larger jet instead of the Boeing 747-400, Qantas can operate a direct flight to Sydney. Now, the Australian carrier flies from Sydney to DFW but stops in Brisbane.
The Sydney-to-DFW flight is the longest regularly scheduled commercial passenger flight in the world, an 8,500-mile route that takes about 15 hours and 25 minutes.
Qantas will operate six flights a week, dropping its Tuesday flight. However, with the A380 able to carry 484 passengers, Qantas will increase its seat capacity on the route by 10 percent per week.
“Dallas/Fort Worth has become an important gateway for Qantas customers since we started flying there in 2011,” Qantas Group Chief Executive Alan Joyce said in a statement.
The carrier is part of American Airlines’ Oneworld alliance and also has a partnership with Emirates.