More US-bound Qantas flights from Australia are in store as Air New Zealand continues its push into the long-haul market across the Tasman.

Air NZ is expanding its sales operation there and has reported success in attracting Australians to its flights to the US via Auckland. A year-long marketing campaign has been running to promote Air NZ's flights to the US and this has just moved into a new phase.

The Kiwi airline's service to Buenos Aires has also successfully tapped into the Australian market.

Qantas international chief executive Gareth Evans said his airline was putting its new Dreamliner on the Melbourne-Los Angeles route later this year and services from Brisbane to new US destinations were in store.


''I can understand why Air New Zealand is trying to tap into a big customer base. For us, we want to make sure we've got the best network for Australians across the Pacific," he said.

''They are always a good competitor - the important thing for us is to have a great direct service to the US out of Australia."

Qantas was also assessing more head-to-head competition with Air NZ, which flies a Dreamliner daily to Perth from Auckland and twice a week from Christchurch during summer.

Qantas will next March launch its daily flight to London using the new plane. The Australian airline currently runs a seasonal service three times a week from Auckland to Perth and is scheduled to end just as London flights start, the longest for a Dreamliner.

Evans said A330 aircraft would be used in any expanded service to Perth from New Zealand and more of these were becoming available.

''The prospects are good; we're continually able to free up aeroplanes or bits of flying time through the transformation processes," he told the Herald in Seattle.

Qantas is gaining operational efficiencies as part of the process and re-arranging schedules to free up aircraft.

More A330s were being modified for international flights by installing another crew rest and more toilets.


The airline already uses the wide body plane on the Sydney-Auckland route following the withdrawal of partner airline Emirates this year. It will use more of them across the Tasman when Emirates withdraws from Auckland -Melbourne and Auckland-Brisbane routes next year.

''The Tasman is a very important part of our network - it's very competitive - for us we are working with Emirates to get the capacity right," said Evans.

• Grant Bradley travelled to Seattle courtesy of Qantas and Boeing