Qantas First to Take A380 to San Francisco for G'Day USA

Sydney, 14 January 2009

Qantas became the first airline to operate the Airbus A380 on a commercial service to San Francisco today, with the aircraft flying to the city as part of the annual G'Day USA promotion.

The Qantas 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 Mr 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," Mr 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."

Mr 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."

Mr Borghetti 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," Mr Borghetti said.

"Qantas worked with internationally renowned Australian industrial designer and Qantas Creative Director Marc Newson over a number of years to revolutionise our international flying product.

"The intelligent design of the aircraft offers passengers an unprecedented level of space, comfort and style."

Qantas' A380 fleet is configured with 450 seats - 14 in First, 72 in Business, 32 in its new Premium Economy cabin and 332 in Economy.

The First class cabin comprises 14 suites designed to enable a spacious luxury travel experience. In Business class, the aircraft offers passengers a new fully-flat Skybed and the new Premium Economy seats offer extra width, recline and legroom. The state-of-the-art Economy class seat was styled by Marc Newson and manufactured by Recaro, which makes seats for luxury auto brands such as Aston Martin, Audi and Porsche.

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.

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (3873)