A major US airline’s decision to start flying to a second Australian city has raised hopes of greater competition and lower prices for travellers.
Delta Air Lines has announced that starting December 4 it will operate a three-times-weekly service of its four-class Airbus A350-900 from Los Angeles to Brisbane and vice versa.
The airline has been lured to Queensland by the state government offering $200 million from its aviation investment fund to attract, in a move expected to attract up to 114,000 visitors estimated to spend up to $208 million.
Major US airline Delta Airlines has announced it will begin flying from Los Angeles to Brisbane and back in December.
While flights were initially only scheduled for March 25, there are hopes that the route will prove commercially viable and lead to permanent daily departures.
The main US airline already operates a flight from Los Angeles to Sydney.
With United and American Airlines already operating flights from Brisbane to Los Angeles, it means the three largest US airlines will compete on the route alongside Qantas.
Air Canada also flies from Brisbane to North America.
Increased international competition is expected to lead to greater competition at the local level and a reduction in ticket prices.
Joe Esposito, senior vice president of network planning for Delta Air Lines, said the new route was exciting.
Deputy Prime Minister and Trade Minister Cameron Dick said the deal would bring many Americans to the Sunshine State.
“We know Americans love to escape the frigid North American winter and enjoy the beautiful weather, beaches, outback and culture of Queensland,” he said.
“Increased services should also put downward pressure on airline prices while providing more opportunities for Queensland exporters to take advantage of the world’s largest economy.”
Brisbane Airport CEO Gert-Jan de Graaf said the city was “charting unprecedented territory” and “witnessing an unprecedented level of interest” from North American markets.
The influx of visitors from the United States is expected to generate revenue for Queensland and lead to greater competition in flight prices.
“I’m not sure if it’s the next Olympics or the insatiable appetite for Bluey, but right now Brisbane is the ‘must see’ destination for North American airlines, and this opens up a world of opportunity,” he said.
Bringing more competition to Australian skies has been a hot topic recently.
Last October, the Senate held an opposition-led inquiry into the Albanese government’s controversial decision to prevent Qatari airlines from operating more domestic flights into Australia.
Former Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce made no secret of lobbying the government on the issue of Qatar Airways seeking more flights to Australia.
He told a Senate cost of living inquiry on August 28 that Qantas “presented its case to the government” and “made representations” in a letter in October 2022.
Transport Minister Catherine King formally rejected Qatar’s request in July 2023, but denied recalling any lobbying by Qantas.