Australia's boom in Boeing 787 Dreamliner flights

By David Flynn, February 28 2014
Australia's boom in Boeing 787 Dreamliner flights

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.

However, they do afford the opportunity for savvy travellers to book themselves into one of the Boeing 787's business class seats at little more than economy prices.

Read: Jetstar's Boeing 787 – how to fly in business class at economy prices

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.

Read: Air New Zealand gears up for Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner’s debut 

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.

Read: United Airlines to launch Boeing 787-9 on Melbourne-Los Angeles 

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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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

It's a crying shame Qantas isn't part of this story in terms of offering something new and exciting like a Dreamliner flight to somewhere...

Heck, it'd be great if they could at the very least offer more than one international service out of Perth even if they can't offer a new aircraft...


12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1461

I cannot get hysteria about 787. Why Qantas “must” to have it??? I rather see flat beds installed on 330 flying to Asia rather than replacing 330 with 787.

Qantas - QFF Platinum

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 212

The economics of the plane open up routes that previously weren't feasible such as Australian ports to North Asia, India, Pacific Rim etc 

Plus the ability of this aircraft would offer forgotten QF customers (such as Glen) QF metal ex Perth to Dubai, HKG and, as AirNZ demonstrates, Auckland on a daily basis.


12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1461

Sorry, I cannot get what 787 can do that beyond of 777 or 330 capabilities. It is lighter and potentially can save fuel, but do not hold your breath - all saving (if any) will go to carrier, not to passenger.

Qantas - QFF Platinum

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 212

The 787 burns 20% less fuel than a 767 and almost 10% less than a A330 so there isn't a question of whether it potentially will save fuel or not.

Aviation fuel is the single biggest cost for airlines and when you're saving 10% of your fuel on one sector and extrapolitate that out over a year of flying the savings definitely add up. 

However, you shouldn't necessarily focus on the fuel savings and how that translates to airfares, the 'big deal' about the 787 from QF's perspective is that it opens up routes that were previously unfeasible.


12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1461

Joshb, forget about savings! For starter I do not believe that they so big. Secondly 777 has one of most efficient engines and I am pretty sure that per head-kilometer it burns less then 330. One has to think about operation cost rather then fuel consumption. Understandable those fuel the biggest one though.

So if hypothetically 787 saves 10% to carrier, do you believe that they will sell tickets cheaper? Nope – they pocket money. Now if it so damn easy to save money, why everyone not switching to 787? Order log for 787 really impressive, but no-one stopping making and ordering 777 and 330. And absent of direct hops on certain routes is not because of absent of the plane, but because of absent of the passengers. 787 will change little if anything at all. 

I just think it's kind of shameful they only have one daily international flight out of Perth on an actual Qantas aircraft... Sure you can fly Jetstar which is kind of QF but have you flown internatinally on JQ lately? It's feral and that's just the crew I'm talking about... lol


12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1461

"It's feral and that's just the crew I'm talking about... lol" LOL!!! You are not far away from the truth!!!!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2212

Why do you think AirAsia X is spamming A333?

..speaking of Perth, what's happened to Qatar's 788 service that was supposed to happen from Perth?


06 Nov 2012

Total posts 46

It never got reinstated after the grounding. No doubt being used on other routes. The 772 is quite a nice alternative, though I'd like to try out the 1-2-1 business seating in the 788.

19 Jun 2012

Total posts 29

It probably made sense when PER was primarily served by the 77Ls, but nowadays it seems as though most flights are operated by 77Ws, so the 788 could be considered too small for the market.

Perhaps we'll see the larger A350 in Perth?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1252

For trans-Tasman hops it's still pretty hard to beat EK's A380.

30 Aug 2013

Total posts 439

79" pitch in J is very generous.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

06 Feb 2014

Total posts 71

I  wish  Qantas   would Fly  the  787 to  Honolulu   and   give us a decent  Biz   class  seat     rather  than  the  outdated   767 on  that   route

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 339

More likely to get a refit A330 replacing the B767 on that route

08 Nov 2013

Total posts 5

I have recently spend a short 4hrs on the dreamliner from Auckland NZ to Melbourne AUST and have to say I was underwhelmed by the experience.   The ambience of the aircraft was no better than any other new aircraft - read a330, there was no mood lighting and certainly no star lit ceilings but most of all and of particular interest to PAX was that the seats were definately more uncomfortable.   They certainly felt they were narrow (17inch) and the bolster in the rear swab of the seat pressed into the kidney area of the back.   Even my usually "non-complaining" wife made mention they seemed more uncomfortable than usual.   I guess it is a low cost carrier and it will make me eye off the Premium economy seats in the future.   As I will be travelling to LAX in November this year on UNITED's new 787-900  I am certainly not looking forward to spending 14hours of disconmfort in these seats (I understand UNITED has 3-3-3 on their 787's similar to JETSTAR).    I suppose my question is, will the airlines ruin the Airbus XWB350 like they have with the 787 by shoe-horning an extra row of seats in?   Unfortunately the Dreamliner is now an "aircraft to avoid" particularly if a 777 or 380 is available on the same route but by a different carrier.

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