Qantas plans to launch non-stop Chicago flights by April 2020

Qantas says it expects to add two new routes - including the fourth-longest passenger flight in the world - from Brisbane to the United States within a year once authorities approve its deal with American Airlines.

Qantas Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners would operate between Brisbane and Chicago - a 16-hour, 20-minute journey - four times a week and the Australian airline's planes will fly between the Queensland capital and San Francisco three times a week in changes it says will benefit local tourism. Flying to Chicago currently takes almost 20 hours via Los Angeles. 

The first flights will start by the end of April 2020 if the US Department of Transportation's tentative approval turns into an official authorisation.

"This is fantastic news for Queensland. It demonstrates the confidence that we have in the local tourism industry and our commitment to the sunshine state," Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said.

Qantas and American Airlines said they planned to co-operate on pricing, sales, lounges and frequent flyer activities between the US and Australia.

Brisbane-Chicago is the latest route in Qantas' plan for ultra-long-haul flights around the world. Last year the airline launched the first ever non-stop flights to London from Perth. The distance from Brisbane to Chicago is 14,354 kilometres, comparable to the 14,498 kilometres from Perth to London - a flight that takes 17 hours.

Qantas' Project Sunrise aims for even longer flights, with a plan to fly non-stop from Australia's eastern capitals to both London and New York.

The airline has challenged manufacturers Boeing and Airbus to come up with a plane that can cover the vast distances required. The likely contenders are the Boeing 777x or the Airbus A350. Final submissions to the airline are expected by August.

with AAP 

See also: Project Sunrise: world's longest flights to be even less comfortable than expected

See also: Airline review: Perth to London non-stop in economy class