Qantas is set to add a third A380 flight from Australia to Los Angeles' LAX airport, according to newspaper reports in LA, adding yet more seats across the Pacific. Business travellers are likely to see cheaper fares and more availability on the route as a result.
More competition between airlines is good news for passengers, but only if the smaller players aren't forced out of the market. When that happens, larger airlines can put their prices up again, as Australians found after Ansett Australia collapsed in 2002.
Qantas' A380 plans are a warning shot across the bow for Strategic Airways -- which plans to be the third Australian airline to fly to the US -- and for John Borghetti, CEO of the Virgin Blue/V Australia/Virgin Australia group. Virgin Blue is applying to the US Department of Transportation to be allowed to hook up with American carrier Delta.
Qantas previously announced plans to out-compete Virgin Blue's new A330 planes with business class seats on the Sydney-Perth route with its own Red Roo Boeing 747 aircraft, fitted with international business class standard Skybeds at the pointy end.
The information about Qantas' A380 comes buried in an article in Los Angeles local paper the Daily Breeze on the revamp of LAX's international terminal.
The article, which focusses more on the impact for LAX itself, says: "Singapore Airlines and Korean Air each plan to launch one A380 flight from LAX later this year, while Qantas intends to add a third A380 jetliner to its Los Angeles routes in 2012."
Will Horton of industry insider site FlightGlobal also spotted the article in a sister newspaper, and speculates that Qantas may add the A380 to routes from Brisbane as it replaces the majority of its 747 fleet with A380s.
Other candidates for new A380s would be Frankfurt via Singapore, Buenos Aires and Tokyo -- or further flights on the Kangaroo Route to London via Hong Kong, Bangkok and Singapore.
Qantas' flights to Dallas-Fort Worth aren't likely to see A380s any time soon, since the six 747-400ER planes (ER for "extended range") are the newest 747s in Qantas' fleet, delivered between 2002 and 2003. The older Qantas 747s, delivered thirteen or fourteen years earlier in 1989, will be first for the auction lot or scrapyard.