Australia’s Qantas Airline became the first airline to operate the Airbus A380 on a commercial service to San Francisco Wednesday, January 14, 2009, with the aircraft flying to the city as part of the annual G’Day USA promotion.
Qantas said its A380 is operating the scheduled QF73 service between Sydney and San Francisco in lieu of the usual Boeing 747-400, and will be met on arrival by the Mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom and US and Australian media.
Executive general manager John Borghetti said Qantas was a founding partner of G’Day USA and was supporting the event’s expansion into San Francisco. “Six years ago Qantas joined Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Austrade and Tourism Australia to support this important annual event that has been so successful in promoting all things Australian to the United States market,” Borghetti said. “G’Day USA began in Los Angeles, expanded to the US east coast and New York three years ago, and is now growing further with this move into San Francisco.”
Borghetti said it was appropriate for Qantas to mark G’Day USA’s arrival in San Francisco with the newest addition to its international fleet. “In 1954, San Francisco became Qantas’ first US mainland destination and we have a long association with the city. We are delighted to showcase our new aircraft to the people of San Francisco.”
The Qantas executive general manager also said the Qantas A380 had more than matched the airline’s expectations. “The Qantas A380 has been operating up to three services a week between Melbourne, Sydney and Los Angeles since October, and customer feedback has been extremely positive,” he said.
According to him, Qantas worked with internationally renowned Australian industrial designer and Qantas Creative Director Marc Newson over a number of years “to revolutionize the airline’s international flying product. “The intelligent design of the aircraft offers passengers an unprecedented level of space, comfort and style.”
The Sydney-based airline said its A380 fleet is configured with 450 seats – 14 in First, 72 in Business, 32 in its new Premium Economy cabin and 332 in Economy.
Qantas currently operates 47 return services per week between Australia and the USA, including 38 to Los Angeles (from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane), five to San Francisco and four to Honolulu.
Qantas also operates daily services to New York, via Los Angeles.