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Qantas to begin operating Melbourne-San Francisco flights

Australia's flagship airline Qantas International has announced that it will be operating flights direct from Melbourne to San Francisco for the first time from late 2018 onwards.

Qantas has also just received delivery of its second 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, which will be used to operate the flight route from Melbourne to Los Angeles to begin with, with this set to run six days a week.

The new aircraft is to be given the name 'Waltzing Matilda', joining 'Great Southern Land' in the newly established fleet. Members of the public voted for what the aircraft should be named, with more than 45,000 suggestions received in total.

Waltzing Matilda was chosen as the final one as Qantas managers believed it was fitting due to the fact it was penned by Banjo Paterson in the Queensland town of Winton - the birthplace of Qantas itself.

The next Dreamliners are to be named Great Barrier Reef, Skippy, Boomerang, Quokka, Uluru and Dreamtime. Qantas is expecting to receive all eight of these aircraft by the end of next year.

When the third and fourth Dreamliner aircraft arrive next year, Qantas will be able to begin running flights between Perth and London for the first time.

Alison Webster, chief executive officer of Qantas International, commented: "The Melbourne-Los Angeles flight was the first international service that we put our very first Airbus A380 on in 2008, so there's a nice symmetry with this being the first for our Dreamliner as well."

She added that many Qantas passengers travelling to LA already connect onwards to San Francisco, so the new flight route will help to make their journeys more seamless.

"We also see strong demand from San Francisco, both from a tourism perspective and because of the business links between Melbourne and Silicon Valley," Ms Webster continued.

With new, smoother links between Australia and the US, there will be new opportunities for leisure travel and business ventures alike, meaning there will be potential for more investment from and to both nations.

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