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May 31, 2011

Qantas new route to/from D/FW isn't always non-stop

It looks like Qantas Airways is having a little trouble with its new route from Australia to Dallas/Fort Worth Airport and back.

Since the carrier launched its new route about two weeks ago, there have been a couple of times where the non-stop route hasn't exactly been non-stop.

On May 23, the flight from Sydney, Australia was diverted to Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport for a couple of hours while Dallas/Fort Worth was dealing with severe thunderstorms and hail.

And then this weekend, Qantas' D/FW passengers had an unexpected visit to tropical New Caldeonia, stopping at the country's capital, Noumea, for refueling before continuing on to Brisbane. The airline said strong headwinds increased fuel consumption and the pilots opted to stop for gas before finishing the flight.

Qantas uses a Boeing 747-400 on the Sydney-D/FW and D/FW-Brisbane-Sydney route and the 8,500 mile one-way trip is the third-longest scheduled passenger route in the world. It is already at the end of the 747-400 range which is why Qantas scheduled a stop in Brisbane on the way back to make sure it had enough fuel before continuing on to Sydney.

 "We're a few weeks into the new route and we'll keep monitoring it," Qantas spokesman Thomas Woodward told an Australian newspaper over the weekend. "We're gaining as much operational experience and getting as much data as we can from the flights but it's too early to draw any conclusions.

"If it becomes an ongoing issue, we'll obviously look at ways of addressing it," he added.

-Andrea Ahles

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