Location: Portland OR Double Emerald (QF and AA), DL PM/MM, Starwood Plat
The problem is that there isn't much pax traffic to YVR for QF -- sufficiently little that the SYD-SFO-YVR tag-on has lost money, and it was mostly done in preparation for the 2010 Olympics. Even SFO is less desirable of a destination than LAX -- sufficiently so that QF pulled out of SFO 20 years ago despite owning an office building on Union Square and having a large cargo operation at SFO (which it kept, using trucks from LAX to the SFO hangars -- quite a sight to see the QF logo on a semi in California). So LAX-JFK is it unless some magic happens. As for fleet capability, the 744ERs could do SYD-JFK non-stop with a limited load, but not JFK-SYD. I believe the 744ER has the longest range within QF's present fleet. But the LAX transit is considered desirable by most pax and not clear that a non-stop could command any premium or attract new business.
So LAX-JFK is it unless some magic happens. ... not clear that a non-stop could command any premium or attract new business.
Plus LAX-JFK is a premium route in its own right. So that suggests that if you want to include people who are going to do a 2-stop trip, LAX and NYC are likely to be good candidates for that.
A non-stop would also run into the same problem as all of the ultra-long haul operations running and talked about: the cost of fuel. It's not so much what the aircraft could theoretically do, but how much fuel you need to burn just to carry the fuel you need to fly the last chunk of the flight. If you load an tonne of fuel at SYD, there's only about half a tonne left by the time you get to LAX, simply because you've burned that much to carry it that far. It gets progressively worse as the flight gets longer.
The LAX-JFK and v.v. flight also is timed to connect with the LAX-MEL flight as well as the LAX-SYD flight. I remember years ago flying this route with only 100 PAX on board but earlier this year I did it on a Saturday night and was told the load was close to 300.
We may one day see a SYD-DFW non stop with any luck but I cannot see a SYD-JFK non stop happening unless the cost of fuel forces those with private jets back into F/ J on commercial carriers. With the demise of the US investment banks and private equity market I can actually see QF's premium cabin loads dropping significantly for the next 24 months anyway.
I am pretty sure they don't fly empty between LAX and JFK....
The issue with such long flights is not only fuel but also the passengers and crew. It is quite something to be in an aircraft for more than 15 hours at a time.
SIN-EWR as one of the longer scheduled flights at the moment would still be a bit shorter than SYD-JFK.
AKL-JFK on the other hand is quite a bit shorter than SIN-EWR.
As DUF mentioned, crewing is a major issue - SYD-LAX-SYD is (IIRC) a four day trip for cabin crew - adding in a LAX-JFK-LAX turnaround and it becomes a seven day trip (I am sure one of our CC members will elaborate on this).
So instead of needing four crews to operate a service, you need seven (obviously a lot more than this, but you get the picture).
This is why the previously mooted tags to DFW and ORD have been canned, the costs associated with it would greatly exceed to revenue.
There are three types of people, those that can count, and those that can't.
To further on what thadocta has said, it does take a lot of crew to operate the extra LAX-JFK shuttle
A typical Los Angeles trip is 4 days (some are 5 but we'll keep it simple)
To operate that flight daily, taking into account minimum rest requirements and having a standby crew in Sydney requires 105 cabin crew
A New York trip is 7 days. To operate that flight daily and again taking into account minimum rest requirements requires 165 crew.
Assuming that the crew are hired to operate these patterns only which of course isn't the case, it's just to calculate figures
And a bit of related information - to operate 1 A380 requires around 150 cabin crew, and at any one time there are over 250 cabin and tech crew in LAX
A380-800 is about 8200nm and the 747-400ER is about 7700nm.
So, A380-800 can fly everywhere B747-400ER can, fly comfortably where B747-400ER struggles and fly with some effort where B747-400ER simply cannot.
7700 nm and 8200 nm are both still air ranges. The whole 747-400ER world fleet of 6 frames was built for Qantas, so they could fly LAX-MEL, and 747-400ER struggles with that. Which is 6883 nm by ground, but more than this against headwinds.
Where do the 6 Longreach planes currently fly? Those are prime candidates for A380, and Qantas has 20 firm orders, and is talking of more.
7400 nm ground from MEL would run short of US east and even Texas (while SYD to Texas or Denver would be marginal). But Ciudad de Mexico would be in. 7400 nm would also exclude the whole Europe. Whereas Rio de Janeiro would be reachable. ADL-GIG is 7358 nm, basically dead south (and well outside 330 minutes ETOPS range - which Australia does not have, so 4 engined planes are ETOPS free).