Newcomer Strategic Airlines looks set to begin flights to the USA as early as September this year, taking on Qantas, United and Virgin Australia -- through its alliance with Delta -- in the battle for trans-Pacific travellers.
The airline, which is reportedly poised to rename itself Air Australia, has won permission from the International Air Services Commission for an unlimited number of passenger flights to the US.
The upshot is that business travellers can look forward to increased competition on American routes -- and lower fares as a result of Strategic's appearance on the lucrative US route.
Strategic says it plans to start the flights this September but the airline won't be able to offer direct services, however, as its Airbus A330 aircraft will need a stopover in Honolulu before continuing to the west coast -- which could be done with its own aircraft or by code-sharing with a US-based airline partner.
Hawaiian Airlines -- whose own connecting services from Australia to US west coast cities Australian Business Traveller covered this week -- is a good candidate for a tie-up given its existing network.
Alternatively, American domestic airlines JetBlue or Southwest could provide useful onward connections from the western US if Strategic decides to fly from Honolulu to the mainland.
Australian Business Traveller will continue to bring you the latest on Strategic Airlines' plans for trans-Pacific flights, including schedules, booking information and the airline's plans for business class services.