2014 looks set to be The Year of the Dreamliner in Australia as an increasing number of Boeing 787 services take to the skies.
Jetstar: Sydney, Melbourne to Bali, Phuket, Auckland
Jetstar this week launched one of its three Boeing 787s onto the Sydney-Phuket route running three times per week, following the mid-January debut of daily Dreamliner flights between Sydney and Bali.
Up next for Qantas' low-cost offshoot will be a Boeing 787 Dreamliner being rostered onto Melbourne-Phuket from February 9 for one flight a week, stepping up to all three weekly return services as of March 30.
Jetstar has also scheduled a trans-Tasman Boeing 787 service between Melbourne and Auckland, although these flights will run for just one month from February 26 to March 28, 2014.
From April 16 Jetstar will roster a Boeing 787 onto a new direct service between Brisbane and Bali, operating four days each week.
Royal Brunei: Melbourne to Brunei, London
But the bigger Boeing 787 news in April is likely to be Royal Brunei's launch of a daily Boeing 787 flight on April 2 from Melbourne to Brunei and then on to London, adding a new twist to the Kangaroo Route.
Royal Brunei's Boeing 787 carries 254 passengers in a conventional two-class layout, with 18 business class seats arrayed in a 2-2-2 configuration with a 79 inch seat pitch.
Each set converts into a fully lie-flat bed of just under two metres (or 6' 5" in the old currency), including a personal Ottoman.
Thai Airways: Perth to Bangkok
Thai Airways will debut its first Boeing 787 service between Bangkok and Perth on July 1.
The Dreamliners will be fitted with 24 seats in Thai's Royal Silk business class and 240 in economy, and feature the new 'Contemporary Concept' design now being rolled out on the airline's Boeing 777-300ERs, including the refreshed business class cabin shown below.
Air New Zealand: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth to Auckland
Air New Zealand's Boeing 787-9 – a stretched and longer-range version of the original 787-8 flown by Jetstar and Royal Brunei - will appear on trans-Tasman flights from Auckland to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane early in the second half of this year.
Air New Zealand chief flight operations officer Captain David Morgan tells Australian Business Traveller these flights will be “sometime in July or August, definitely in September", ahead of the 787-9's official debut on October 15 flying between Auckland and Perth.
"We will put the aircraft into service across the Tasman for crew training and also to ensure that the aeroplane is integrated seamlessly into our network” Morgan says, "we’re certainly not going to have it sitting around on the ground after the delivery in July!”
This first Dreamliner to join the Kiwi carrier's fleet will be painted in a special ‘all black’ edition of the airline's new livery (shown above) while the nine jets to follow will receive the more standard white-and-black treatment.
United Airlines: Melbourne to Los Angeles
United Airlines will begin flying its Boeing 787-9 to Australia in October with the launch of a new direct Dreamliner service between Melbourne and Los Angeles.
The direct flight will run six days a week from October 26, replacing the current daily dogleg route which sees United's Melbourne-LA flights (UA839/840) go via Sydney with a one-hour stopover.
The new flights will be
- UA99, departing Melbourne at 10.15am to reach Los Angeles at 6.50am the same day
- UA98, which is wheels-up from LAX at 10.30pm to arrive into Melbourne at 8.15am two days later.
United’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners will carry 48 lie-flat business class seats, a sizeable Economy Plus cabin of 63 seats stacked in a 3-3-3 configuration and 141 standard economy seats.
Japan Airlines: Sydney to Tokyo on hold
However, Qantas partner Japan Airlines (JAL) won't begin its planned Boeing 787 flights between Sydney and Tokyo until "well into the second half of 2014", a spokesman for JAL told Australian Business Traveller.
That service was due to commence in December last year but was delayed due to safety concerns over flying the aircraft near thunderstorms, following a warning from Boeing that all 787s powered by General Electrics' GEnx engines – which includes those in the JAL fleet – to avoid flying within 90 kilometres of thunderstorms.
"The issues with the GE engines on the 787 still has not been resolved" the spokesman added.
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