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As of July 20, 2019, American Airlines and Qantas Airways have received official, final approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for a joint business agreement, which will allow the two major carriers to highly integrate their operations.

The joint-business authorization gives American and Qantas the opportunity to jointly offer more products and potentially offer even better service for customers flying between the United States, and Australia and New Zealand. It gives license to Qantas and American to further deepen their longstanding partnership and deliver new routes, more destinations, reduced travel time, lower fares, and additional benefits for frequent flyers.

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“We look forward to working closely with our valued partner, Qantas, on this new joint business,” said American’s Chairman and CEO Doug Parker. “We now have the opportunity to launch new routes and provide enhanced service with better schedules, additional frequent flyer benefits and continued investments in the overall customer experience. We are grateful to Secretary Chao and the DOT team, as we welcome this fantastic news for our customers and team members.”

For decades, Qantas and American Airlines have connected travelers across the Pacific and worked together as codeshare partners and each is also already a member of the OneWorld Alliance international airline loyalty program, which provides select benefits to frequent flyers. Under the new DOT approval, the airlines will be able to add codeshare services to more of each other’s existing international flights between the U.S., and Australia and New Zealand.

The DOT approval enables Qantas to proceed with its first order of business—introducing two new routes from Brisbane to Chicago and San Francisco. The national carrier will soon operate flights three times weekly from Brisbane to San Francisco and four times per week between Brisbane and Chicago, directly linking Australia and the third-largest U.S. city for the first time ever.

Plans for these new routes, to be flown using Qantas’ Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, were announced in Brisbane last month, and are expected to debut by the end of April 2020, adding more than 170,000 seats for passengers to journey across the Pacific each year.

The direct service from Brisbane to Chicago is expected to save passengers flying between Australia and Chicago more than six hours of travel time on return trips. Seats are expected to go on sale in the coming weeks, once the schedule for Qantas’ Brisbane-Chicago and Brisbane-San Francisco flights is finalized.

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