Air Travel: Approval for AA – Qantas Partnership, New Flights

Qantas airplane
Photo by Boeing746/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

A major new airline partnership and a number of new flights lead this week’s air travel news. 

This week the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) granted tentative approval to a joint venture between American Airlines and Qantas Airways on flights between the United States and Australia and New Zealand. If granted final approval, the carriers will coordinate their planning, pricing, sales, and frequent flyer activities to offer customers a single proposition on transpacific flights, with new options and customer service enhancements, the DOT said. 

American said the new joint venture would afford the opportunity to launch new routes and flights to new destinations, including city pairs not currently served by either carrier, as well as expand the two airlines’ codeshare relationship in order to allow for optimized schedules on transpacific services, opening up connections to more destinations and reduced total travel time. The airline said the deal could also lead to additional frequent flier benefits and the ability to co-locate at airports for further investments in lounges, baggage systems and other infrastructure. 

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American also announced a couple of new flights this week. In the Caribbean, the airline confirmed it will add a second weekly flight from Miami to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, starting December 18. The new flight will run on Wednesdays, complementing American’s existing Saturday service. 

Domestically, American announced plans to launch new nonstop daily service between Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport starting January 7, 2020. The new nonstop flight will be American’s fourth out of the Florida airport and will be aimed at serving the region's business, military and leisure passengers. 

In Europe, this week KLM Royal Dutch Airlines began operating flights between Las Vegas and Amsterdam. The new service will run three times weekly, starting on Thursdays and Sundays now and adding a Tuesday flight on July 2, 2019. 

Brussels Airlines this week announced plans to add Valencia to its network this winter; the new flight will begin February 17, 2020. 

Finally, JetBlue made a number of new flight announcements of its own this week. The airline opened bookings on its new daily nonstop flights between New York City’s JFK Airport and Guayaquil, Ecuador, marking the airline’s second destination in the country and the longest route in its network. The flights will begin December 5, 2019. 

Domestically, this week JetBlue announced it will return to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, this winter for a second season, with nonstop flights from Boston Logan and Fort Lauderdale, both of which will operate Wednesdays and Saturdays through spring 2020. Bookings on the new flights are open now. 

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