I’m Skeptical: Qantas Wants To Fly Nonstop To Miami (Eventually)

I’m Skeptical: Qantas Wants To Fly Nonstop To Miami (Eventually)

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We know that Qantas has plans to operate some of the world’s longest flights, though here’s a route I wasn’t expecting would be in the cards…

Qantas reveals more “Project Sunrise” A350 routes

In May 2022, Qantas placed an order for 12 Airbus A350-1000s, which the airline will use for its “Project Sunrise” flights. The primary motivation for this is that Qantas wants to fly nonstop from Sydney and Melbourne to New York and London, though currently no commercial aircraft are capable of operating these routes in an economical way.

Qantas has ordered the A350-1000

That’s expected to finally change, as Airbus will modify the A350 (by adding an extra 20,000 liters worth of fuel tanks) to make it capable of operating these missions. Qantas hopes to launch these flights by the end of 2025. These planes will be in a super premium configuration, and will feature just 238 seats, including a new first class product.

Qantas’ Airbus A350 interior plans

Qantas doesn’t just intend to launch these four routes, but has other destinations in mind as well. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce had an interview with The Sunday Times, during which he revealed some potential routes the airline is considering as part of “Project Sunrise.”

Specifically, Qantas is considering operating flights from Sydney (SYD) and Melbourne (MEL) to the following destinations (I’ll also list the distance from the two Australian airports to the foreign airport):

  • New York (JFK) — 9,950-10,374 miles
  • London (LHR) — 10,503-10,573 miles
  • Paris (CDG) — 10,410-10,527 miles
  • Frankfurt (FRA) — 10,132-10,248 miles
  • Miami (MIA) — 9,336-9,691 miles
  • Chicago (ORD) — 9,232-9,663 miles
  • Cape Town (CPT) — 6,416-6,842 miles
  • Sao Paulo (GRU) — 8,163-8,318 miles
Potential new long haul Qantas routes

Now, a few important things to note:

  • All of these routes can’t be operated by 12 A350-1000s, so I think this is more of a wish list, rather than a concrete plan
  • None of these routes are happening anytime soon, as Qantas will only get its first A350-1000 in late 2025 at the earliest, and it’ll take years till the airline has all 12 planes
  • Qantas executives are notorious for claiming to be seriously considering routes that never come to fruition; that’s especially true when you consider that Qantas isn’t exactly an airline that’s expanding fast
  • Some of these routes wouldn’t need to be operated by A350s; the Sao Paulo and Cape Town routes are easily within range for the 787, while the Chicago route is right at the cusp

Could Qantas really fly from Australia to Miami?!

Most of the above routes are roughly what you’d expect to be on Qantas’ radar, especially with planes capable of operating longer routes. Cape Town and Sao Paulo? Not surprising, if the airline has enough planes. Chicago? Qantas was going to start flying there from Brisbane around the start of the pandemic, but that was scrapped. Paris and Frankfurt? Those are destinations Qantas has operated to in the past.

But Miami?! That’s a totally new one to me, and not something I’ve ever heard a Qantas executive mention before. Usually Seattle is the city in the United States that’s thrown around as being at the top of Qantas’ list, so Miami caught me off guard.

As a Miami resident, I’d sure love to see a Qantas A350 buzzing over my home, ready to start the ~20 hour journey to Sydney. Is there any chance this becomes a reality, though? A few thoughts:

  • Miami is a major American Airlines hub, so the route would have that going for it, given that the two airlines have a transpacific joint venture
  • The flights would be very similar in length to any Chicago service, and shorter than New York service
  • Australia to South Florida doesn’t seem like a huge market to me; I mean, I suppose some Australians may be looking to go on cruises, but that’s not exactly the high-yield traffic that makes routes like this sustainable
  • This would be convenient for any connections to the Caribbean, though the Australia to Caribbean market isn’t huge
  • There’s a portion of the southeast that could efficiently be connected through Miami, though I’m not sure there are many connecting markets where Miami would be more efficient than Qantas’ existing flights to Dallas

Personally I don’t see this route becoming a reality, though I certainly could be wrong. Call my a cynic, but am I the only one who thinks that Qantas simply announces a lot of theoretical routes in order to try to get publicity?

Executives at other airlines don’t typically talk about routes they plan to launch years down the road (why would you let your competition know what you’re planning?), yet it’s something Qantas does consistently, even though more often than not the routes don’t materialize.

But I guess it’s not a terrible strategy? I see some “mainstream” media in Miami picking up on this, and if nothing else, it gives Qantas free PR for its overall “Project Sunrise” concept.

I’m skeptical about Qantas flying to Miami

Bottom line

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has revealed a variety of routes that the airline is considering as part of its “Project Sunrise” plans, whereby the airline will use A350-1000s to operate some of the world’s longest flights. Beyond London and New York, most of the other destinations are what you’d expect, including Chicago, Frankfurt, and Paris.

The possibility of a Sydney or Melbourne to Miami flight is also being thrown around. While I’d love for that to become a reality, I think it’s highly unlikely. I’d love to be proven wrong, though.

What do you think — could we see Qantas launch a nonstop flight to Miami?

(Tip of the hat to Simon)

Conversations (31)
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  1. EK_engineer Guest

    Typical Joyce move: make a distraction and hope the problems/bad press goes away. Problem is, we aussies are now very familiar with the Joyce playbook. And it's NOT working anymore. Don't believe me? Look at how many rusted-on QF loyalists calling for change......I've not seen anything like this since 1992.

  2. Mike Guest

    I think most Australians would agree that this is just to craete a distraction from the horrible press than Qantas and Joyce are getting at the moment. All of it justified.
    I have flown qantas numerous times since they started flying again post-pandemic. Not a single flight left on time (or anything close to on time), about 25% were cancelled and pushed out by 24-48 hours and the onboard experience on all of them...

    I think most Australians would agree that this is just to craete a distraction from the horrible press than Qantas and Joyce are getting at the moment. All of it justified.
    I have flown qantas numerous times since they started flying again post-pandemic. Not a single flight left on time (or anything close to on time), about 25% were cancelled and pushed out by 24-48 hours and the onboard experience on all of them was very ordinary.
    I think Qantas will need to part ways with its CEO. Right or wrong, he has caused massive brand damage.

  3. Carrie Member

    Once Qantas have their existing routes, both domestically and internationally, running without the current woes then i might be interested in exploring this seemingly hyperbolic media announcement.

  4. glenn t Diamond

    Australia to Miami non-stop on Qantas? In ya dreams! as we say here. All pie in the sky stuff.
    Similarly, direct flights to GRU are also unlikely with Brazil's political unpredictability and currency risks, neither likely to improve in the foreseeable future.
    I wonder if the fabled Qantas spin machine has been directed to ramp up to overdrive to distract from the ever-increasing demands for Alan Joyce to go.

  5. Visionist Guest

    Partner up with Disney to get Australians to Florida's Disney parks & cruises. Disney would launch a multimillion dollar marketing blitz in Australia & Qantas would paint an A350 in a Disney livery.

    1. GS in PDX Guest

      Great idea..... but they would need to re-route the flight to MCO for the theme park portion, and then FLL for the cruises!

  6. Ray Guest

    Qantas management have a bigger fish to fry. A recent documentary by 4Corners recently exposed flaws in their system that could carry adverse implications on operational safety. Further, there’re some 4,000 Australians currently stranded in Bali because JetStar kept having delays or accidents.

  7. zagman1112 New Member

    Considering the existing service to DFW and connectivity provided from there, I would think that adding service to SEA over MIA would make more sense. Given the large Oneworld presence in SEA, it would provide seamless connections to a lot of the smaller markets in the western US.

  8. Sarah Guest

    Nice deflection from all the negative news stories. There is not the market to even half fill a plane between Australia and Miami. Focus on what you should be doing which is dealing with all the operational issues and staff shortages.

  9. Jerry Diamond

    If the do it, they better get Pitbull and Havana Brown back in the studio to collaborate again.

  10. Jason Guest

    Yawn. Long nonstop flight to/ from a city with an extremely bigoted school board. Hard pass.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      This wins the award for the weirdest non-sequitur reply on OMAAT in recent memory.

  11. derek Guest

    I don't see the value of such long flights. I've flown LAX-SIN and didn't think it was any better than the return flight SIN-NRT-LAX. I do have a disclaimer in that the return flight was SIN-NRT - Looking around Tokyo that morning and early afternoon - NRT-LAX.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      The market has proven you to be an outlier.

    2. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      Apparently there's some unwritten law that every thread about ULH has to have a post like this.

      So, for the umpteenth trillionth time: yes, we get that some folks personally like to break up long trips... but the market, airlines, and OEMs have long since determined that 16hr+ ULH flights are here to stay, and will only increase, as many businesses and people WILL pay top dollar to "get there" more quickly.

  12. herman Guest

    Alan Joyce would say anything to hype up project sunrise. Thought he hated AAB but seems to be learning a great deal about PR nonsense from him.

  13. JAXBA New Member

    I'd be happy to try it if it launches, but I don't see the demand.

  14. Evan Guest

    Personally, I just can't see myself in an aircraft for that long, even up front. Sure, Qantas is "redefining" travel for those up front. But, when it comes to economy, it's still the same old thing...nada. Sure, maybe a "higher quality" meal, an inch of two pitch, or some BS like that.

    I actually question the viability of the initial routes in the long-term, not even getting to the wish list.

    1. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      "I actually question the viability of the initial routes in the long-term"

      "Question them" based on what?

      There's enormous demand between LON, NYC, and to a lesser extent PAR, and FRA to Australia. All this is doing is taking a few hours off the total trip, with aircraft that already do close to the required flight time as is.

    2. Evan Guest

      I am not questioning demand...I'm questioning whether or not the demand will pay for the privilege of non-stop to make the route viable. I don't know that answer, which is why I question viability.

  15. Mak Guest

    Seems like an obvious route to me given the opportunity for passengers to transfer to American onward throughout the Eastern US (without going through JFK), Caribbean, Mexico, and Central and South America on American. There are few easier ways to get to most of these places from Australia.

    1. jason Guest

      You can get to South America by taking Qantas's nonstop to Santiago, Chile. From there connect to most other destinations easily. They're maintaining their relationship with LATAM.

      To get to Mexico, you can go through Los Angeles or Dallas. Miami doesnt have near the amount of nonstops to Mexico that Dallas or Los Angeles has.

      Caribbean? Sure, I guess, but is the market that large?

      Will be interesting to see what happens.

  16. Jerry Guest

    Miami will never happen. Those planes would be 70% empty.

  17. Mike C Gold

    Colour me sceptical! Let's see NYC and ORD launch then see where else. Toronto, maybe, IAD maybe, MIA, yeah right!

  18. Luke Guest

    why would you let your competition know what you’re planning?

    I guess for their case isn't worried about competition taking these routes. There's exactly a 0% chance of AA taking this up and beating Qantas to launch a Miami to Sydney route!

    1. dfw88 Guest

      But even if AA did take it up... the two have a JV, so it wouldn't matter. QF would still get part of the money. Hence, to reinforce your point, they have no worries about competitors stealing their ideas.

  19. JB Guest

    Grrr. Almost got the tip of the hat. I posted a link to a "The Next Miami" article about this onto your "Capital One Venture vs. Venture X post yesterday".

    Living in Miami, I also think it would be really cool to see a Qantas plane. But I think Miami should get a nonstop to East Asia before a flight to Australia. Maybe JAL could launch service to MIA when Japan fully opens up to tourists.

  20. Never In Doubt Guest

    I await all the bad takes from amateur airline network planners in the comments.

    1. Andrew P Guest

      Ben what are you on about ?? Of course the a350-1000 ULR can operate on all the routes you mentioned. Qantas wouldn't announce them if it couldn't. What's in it for you to tell your readers that Qantas is wrong for considering Miami as a route ? Some are commenting saying São Paulo route would be empty? How wold they know ? Do they work in the department of future route planning for a specific...

      Ben what are you on about ?? Of course the a350-1000 ULR can operate on all the routes you mentioned. Qantas wouldn't announce them if it couldn't. What's in it for you to tell your readers that Qantas is wrong for considering Miami as a route ? Some are commenting saying São Paulo route would be empty? How wold they know ? Do they work in the department of future route planning for a specific airline ? I would say they are either Aussies who like to bag Qantas (typical tall poppy stuff) or people who work at competing airlines. I think you should read your article again and have a think about what you stand for as a supposed Aviation Journalist.

  21. Ruben Guest

    I live in Miami too and would love to see Qantas here as well. However, a stop in Dallas will better prepare me for that tiring flight. Unless you fly business of first.

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Never In Doubt Guest

This wins the award for the weirdest non-sequitur reply on OMAAT in recent memory.

7
ConcordeBoy Diamond

Apparently there's some unwritten law that every thread about ULH has to have a post like this. So, for the umpteenth trillionth time: yes, we get that some folks personally like to break up long trips... but the market, airlines, and OEMs have long since determined that 16hr+ ULH flights are here to stay, and will only increase, as many businesses and people WILL pay top dollar to "get there" more quickly.

3
Sarah Guest

Nice deflection from all the negative news stories. There is not the market to even half fill a plane between Australia and Miami. Focus on what you should be doing which is dealing with all the operational issues and staff shortages.

2
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