Qantas passengers flying out of and into Dallas/Fort Worth could face delays due to the cancellation of more than 200 flights at DFW by Qantas partner American Airlines.
As severe thunderstorms pounded North Texas a heavy hailstorm passed directly over the airport yesterday, damaging dozens of planes.
The Houston Chronicle reports that 50 American Airlines planes were damaged by hail damage, and despite repair efforts 18 aircraft remain out of service according to American spokesman Andrea Huguely.
The knock-on effect was the cancellation of 217 domestic American Airline flights, which Qantas sells as codeshare tickets to Australian passengers travelling beyond DFW.
Qantas commenced direct flights from Sydney to Dallas/Forth Worth earlier this month, although the move was less about Texas being a major destination in its own right and more that DFW would serve as a hub for passengers to travel onwards to the eastern side of the US (with Los Angeles acting as a hub for the western side of the country).
However, the route has already posed some challenges for Qantas. Earlier this week the airline deliberately and controversially chose to leave three containers of passengers' luggage at DFW due to concerns over fuel consumption for the QF8 return flight to Australia.
The storm season also saw the inbound Qantas flight QF7 diverted over 400km from Dallas to Houston yesterday because the aircraft Qantas uses for the service – a long-range Boeing 747-400ER – lacked sufficient fuel at the end of its 17 hour flight from Sydney to circle DFW for long enough for the thunderstorms to pass by.