Qantas Sydney To Vancouver Flights Coming… Six Times

I’d argue the single coolest route within North America is Cathay Pacific’s flight between New York and Vancouver. It’s hands down the most comfortable way to fly coast-to-coast, despite the horrible flight times (it’s a redeye in both directions).


Another awesome fifth freedom route was Qantas’ flight between San Francisco and Vancouver, which unfortunately was discontinued a few years back. They used to fly from Sydney to San Francisco (which has since been discontinued as well), and then at least seasonally had a tag flight from San Francisco to Vancouver, which you could book by itself.

That’s all only mildly related to the main news — in January, Qantas will be launching service between Sydney and Vancouver six times. Nope, not six times per week, but rather six times total. That’s all.

The services will operate from 3 to 22 January 2015, departing Sydney on Saturdays and Wednesdays (with same day connections available from the major Australian capital cities), and from Vancouver on Sundays and Thursdays, operated by a three-cabin B747 aircraft, reconfigured with lie-flat beds in Business Class and the award-winning international Economy seat.

The flight will operate with the following schedule:

QF75 Sydney to Vancouver departing 2:50PM arriving 9:45AM
QF76 Vancouver to Sydney departing 11:45PM arriving 10:00AM (+2 days)

Now, due to Qantas’ financial situation, they have been making a lot of changes to optimize their schedule by tightening turn times and discontinuing less profitable flights.

I do find it really interesting that:

  • They have a “spare” 747 during absolute peak season with which to operate this flight
  • This is the best utilization they can get out of an aircraft, given there are no “economies of scale” here — I assume there are quite a few logistics involved in operating only a total of six flights, and I have to imagine it’s difficult to maximize revenue on them when opening them up for bookings only a few months out

I also find it interesting that the flight leaves out of Vancouver so late. If the plane will be sitting in Vancouver all day, why not have it leave at 8:45PM and get to Sydney at 7AM, for example? I guess maybe they don’t have an immediate use for it on the other end, but that still seems interesting.

I’ve checked award space on the route, and unfortunately as of now it doesn’t look like Qantas has any award space between Sydney and Vancouver.

This is probably not the most useful information in the world, though if you actually want to fly the route at least now you know it exists… for a very short time.


(Tip of the hat to David)


  1. The ground time has been discussed elsewhere as possibly due to the timing for cabin rest periods so that they only need one set of crew for the whole round trip.

    As for the reason for the route, it was also raised that perhaps they have a contract with a cruise or tour agent.

    Great news if they are looking to expand their network though! About time they stopped contracting their network.

  2. As much as I love Qantas, almost on the same level as your Lufthansa obsession haha, I’m baffled as to what their plans are, especially with this six flight stint. I for one used to do my best to fly through San Fran instead of LA just for the better custom experience as an Australian, so was disappointed when they cut that route. They really REALLY need to just buy those 787-9’s and put them into service already. With a population of 20 million, and if we are honest no one really looking to fly through Australia on their way to Europe :P, the use of newer, more fuel efficient planes would be greatly welcomed.

    I don’t quite understand Alan Joyce’s idea of return to profitability before purchase when the main reason they lost out was wrong aircraft selection. In saying that though, I do love the Qantas A380 and while maybe not the best financial decision, it’s still a fun one and nice way to fly.

  3. @ Robin — Ultimately I think they’re facing the same struggle the US airlines faced for years. They’re not innovating and are being beaten by low cost carriers, and have been complacent for too long. I think the first thing they need to do to return to profitability is scale back dramatically, which I think we’re seeing now. So I think they have the right idea.

  4. Errghh, why no award space!? This would be perfect for a flight I’ve desperately been trying to book six ways from Sunday. Lucky, if you notice space finally open on these flights (in any class), please post about it on the blog!

  5. I’m thinking it is a ski Lodge contract.

    Too bad the timing is not conducive to an amex centurion visit at sfo. Presumably it is ex sfo at 745 and leaves yvr at 23:45.

    Meaning no Global entry/nexus preclear in yvr. (transborder closes at 8pm)

  6. Very interesting. Agree it must be a one-off contract with a ski lodge within the area, and also allows other returning passengers from say Colorado to have the option to return via Vancouver vs LAX which many are averse to. They still keep a spare 747 for the yearly Antartica day flights, which is also around that time december- jan. And yes I too wonder what their next plans are. Its just so hard to compete, not just with low cost carriers, but all other airlines (talking about the major ones) that fly out of Australia to Europe – not only are they cheaper but have better business and first class products. And Qantas can only slash fares so low as they still need to maintain the cost of wages of employees, most of which are based in Australia so that alone (the wages and cost of living here is already sky high compared to the wages and cost of living of employees of other premium airlines) is hard to maintain.

  7. This is definitely about skiing holidays, with maybe a little sun seeking from Canadians. I’m sure most of the capacity is pre-sold to tour operators. This is the summer school holidays, and most businesses down here aren’t super active in January. I’d be very surprised if any award availability or even much availability at all shows up until really close in when package operators may return some unsold seats.

    Even if this isn’t massively profitable for Qantas, and I suspect it might be, it is pretty secure income.

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