Qantas Airways expects to stick with the Boeing 747 for its flights to Dallas/Fort Worth even after it takes delivery of the smaller 787 Dreamliners.
Qantas group executive operations Lyell Strambi says the route to North Texas was best served by a big aircraft, rather than the Boeing 787-9, a stretched version of the plane.
"I think Dallas/Fort Worth is one of those markets that probably will justify a larger plane now and into the future," Mr Strambi told reporters during a media briefing in Seattle on Tuesday (US time).
"Our first objective with Dallas is to pad it out to daily services with a big plane. Why would you then drop back to a 787 in that case?"
Mr Strambi said the route may be served longer term by an Airbus A380 capable of making the 13,804-kilometre journey across the Pacific.
Qantas started the Sydney to Dallas/Fort Worth route in May this year, flying four times a week to its Oneworld Alliance partner American Airlines' biggest hub city.
The airline says it is the longest operation of a 747 aircraft in the world and the third-longest flight, behind Singapore Airlines' direct service from the city-state to Los Angeles (14,114 kilometres) and Newark (15,345 kilometres).
Due to headwinds travelling west back to Australia, the flight back to Sydney stops via Brisbane.
There have been a number of diversions during the first few months of operation, with the Dallas/Fort Worth to Brisbane route forced to make stops in Auckland, New Caledonia and Fiji due to stronger-than-expected headwinds or bad weather.
Mr Strambi said the airline was learning a lot about the new route and adjusting how it was flown.
"We are getting more accurate in our load planning and therefore more efficient and more able to achieve better returns," Mr Strambi said.
Qantas expected to receive its first Boeing 787-9 some time in 2014 or 2015, Mr Strambi said.
The reporter travelled to Seattle courtesy of Qantas and Boeing.
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