Will the qantas 787 be used for Asian flights.

51 replies


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 08 Sep 2012

Total posts 47

"U don't need to.  Just upgrade yourself to the PY or J cabin and say good bye to 9 abreast in Y".

In an ideal world, that would be the case. But given the price difference between Y+ /J and economy, many of us can't afford to fly/justify flying in premium cabins unless we upgrade using points.

The fact that airlines are limiting space in economy more and more is worrying. I can deal with 29/30 inches of seat pitch and 17inches width for up to 3 hours. But beyond that, it's dangerous in my view.


Member since 31 Mar 2016

Total posts 37

"In an ideal world, that would be the case..."

But also is the case in the real world:  The only way to avoid "to be stuck 9 abrest" in Y is still to pay more($ or FFP mileage) for PY or J as I hv originally implied.

"...airlines are limiting space in economy more and more is worrying."

Or over the past 2-3decades:

a) Are pax getting physically bigger & bigger on avg worldwide?

b) Are airline biz models no longer homogeneous and became  more & more diverse(e.g. LCCs, global super connector for longhauls, etc.) enabling a much wide range of fare+seat std combos being offered to consumers whom tend to focus much more on hunting the lowest fare than the highest spec product?  

Little known tech facts: Y seat width spec of a typical 747 in the 80s is exactly the same as the Y on a typical 787 today.

"I can deal with 29/30 inches of seat pitch and 17inches width for up to 3 hours.  But beyond that, it's dangerous..."

Fortunately, it's extremely rare for airlines(Except LCCs) to use such Y seat specs on nex gen longhaul types(i.e. 380, 787, 350, 77X)  for routes beyond 4-5hrs.  Typical Y seat specs for these types offer @ least 31in seat pitch and 17.3in seat width.  So there's hope as older gen longhaul types(e.g. 77W) gradually retire in the future.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 25 Sep 2013

Total posts 377

Speculative aka crystall-ball-gazing threads are always so much fun.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 11 Oct 2014

Total posts 386

Too many people here missing the point of the OP's question .. and fixating on the B787-9.

Look back to when QF ordered that huge 105 frame order and what they said at the time. To whit, the B787 will be to replace existing B767's and to explore new international routes. QF Fleet Planning has always liked flexibility and the B767-300ER's were used domestically and internationally.

The A330's were almost a 'gift' from Airbus - think A380 production delays. And the A330's replaced the B767's on a number of domestic routes, with varying success. Then came the 'Lateliner' fiasco.

QF had originally ordered the B787-8 for JQ - and the idea was for JQ to operate them internationally for a number of years whereupon they would be transferred to QF. Of course, Boeing experienced rolling delays with delivery and JQ got the A330's instead. Messy.

As the B787-8's began to arrive, JQ began transferring the A330's back to QF, who now use them domestically and to Asia.

The point being that - even after cancellations and adjustments - QF will certainly need replacement widebodies for both domestic and international. The first 8 B787-9's will in all probability go to international for replacement of B747-400's. IMO, BNE might see a daily BNE-LAX-JFK and daily BNE-DFW service set to replace their existing B747-400 BNE-LAX-JFK service. That alone would probably require 4 frames.

JNB and SCL are mentioned above and that may well happen, on a daily basis - but as pointed out, CASA has not yet approved twin engine ETOPS in excess of 180 mins.

Since we only see the 8 B787-9's so far ordered, we don't know what will come next. Domestically, QF could eventually relocate all A330's to domestic operations. They're not old at all - and the new J Class refit cost a pretty penny and has been lauded as a superior product. That would take the pressure off 'domestic' renewal and allow QF to concentrate on further international growth and new route expansion.

The point is, it will be telling to see whether QF orders any B787-8's for itself (fullfilling domestic option and providing flexibility to swap out from dom to intl when required). It may choose to simply order more B787-9's - and concentrate them on new and existing international routes. It may also decide to add the B787-10 to the family as well. There might also be a reappraisal of the A350-900 vs B787-10 Irrespective,

I am sure that we will eventually see QF deploying smaller (compared to B747-400) widebodies to Asia and adopting a 'frequency' model. When you have the prospect of a mix of some 50-odd options and purchase rights, you generally want to place them somewhere. And 8 ordered frames is only the beginning.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 02 Jul 2011

Total posts 835

Wasn't the OP specifically asking about the 8 787s ordered.

I agree at some point down the road that QF will likely use more of the options to replace/ expand the A330 network, but that could be many years off given the current A330 refurbs

And at some point a larger replacement will likely be needed for the remaining 6 744ERs (after the 5 get replaced)

As for ETOPS, well LA has been successfully operating 788 and 789s on SCL-AKL-SYD for almost 12 months now.  I would find it very surprising if CASA restricted QF from using the same plane in the same way, and if they allow SCL then you'd think JNB is next.


Member since 20 May 2015

Total posts 109

CASA's ETOPS restrictions, IIRC, only apply to Australian carriers, which means LAN (soon LATAM) can operate their daily 787 services but Qantas have to use a quadjet. Obviously QF will be having discussions with CASA about the subject.

Presuming that CASA does allow longer ETOPS then we can be certain QF will immediately pull the 747s off the JNB/SCL routes and switch to daily Dreamliners.


Member since 07 Oct 2012

Total posts 768

LAN needed approval from Chilean and New Zealand regulators, they didn't need CASA approval because the ETOPS requirement is between NZ - Chile.

But, I'd be suprised if CASA took a different approach to other regulators.


Member since 31 Mar 2016

Total posts 37

"I'd be surprised if CASA took a different approach to other regulators."

Despite repeated calls for rules relaxation, they have been taking a diff approach than other regulators re ETOPS beyond 180 ever since 787/350 programs were launched 10yrs ago or earlier when both hv been planned to hv @ least ETOPS330 right @ the beginning of their development.

I guess CASA is terminally allergic to Engine-Turns-Or-Pax- Swim(E-T-O-P-S)....


Member since 31 Mar 2016

Total posts 37

"QF will be having discussions with CASA about the subject."

Actually, that discussion(Or lobbying) started around the time when QF firmed its initial 787 order back in 2005 and has never really stopped all along.  I bet U it will be continued until CASA relent....


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 11 Oct 2014

Total posts 386

Hi moa999,

The OP's original question is 'Will the qantas 787 be used for Asian flights."

My point here is that every response above focused on the B787-9 specifically (yes, what has been ordered so far). The B787 refers to a family of aircraft models, including the available -8, -9, -10 models.

While the 788;s and 789's have been operated to Australia by various carriers, these have been operated from nations outside CASA's purview. In UA's case, the FAA and the Chilean authority in LAN's case.

I am not saying that CASA will not, at some stage, agree to 180+ operation for Australian carriers. Rather, CASA is being typically conservative in it's approach and will take some prodding before this approval is issued. Right now, QF could operate the B787-9 under ETOPS .. but only to the 180 limit. Also, be aware that LAN's operation of the B787 across the lower Pacific is operated under NZ Government approval for SCL-AKL-SCL. Since the AKL-SYD-AKL sector is within normal operating requirements, it is not an issue for CASA.

What that suggests to me is that QF will probably use BNE as an initial B787-9 'test case' for extended ops before unleashing the frame on JNB or SCL.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 08 Sep 2012

Total posts 47

Very interesting and insightful analysis kimshep. Thanks!


Member since 31 Mar 2016

Total posts 37

"Domestically, QF could eventually relocate all A330's to domestic operations.  They're not old at all..."

Absolutely.  Their oldest frame is less than 13yrs old and likely will be completely paid-off soon in terms of capital cost.  Given how long those 767s lasted in QF fleet(Also redeployed to purely domestic/Trans-Tasman duties toward the end), I fully expect the 330s will hv similar yrs of service @ QF later.  But there's also a tech reason for such future redeployment to make perfect investment sense:  On shorter sectors(i.e. Within 5hrs common for QF Dom), older gen types(e.g. 330) are nearly as efficient  as nex gen types(e.g. 787).  This is due to nex gen types deliver their efficiency advantage mostly during cruise.....the shorter the cruise, the fewer the advantage can be realized.

"...see whether QF orders any B787-8's for itself.....may choose to simply order more B787-9's.."

Order for additional 789 is far more likely than 788.  Technically, 789 is just better value than a 788.  Don't get me wrong, I fully expect QF Dom will eventually operate 788s....when they're retired fm JQ(Itself upgauge to 789).  It's exactly the same pattern as how the 332s @ JQ were redeployed to QF Dom in recent yrs.

"...may also decide to add the B787-10.."

Possible.  After all, the 78J(Basically a 333 on steroid) does hv more payload/range than the 333...perfect to incrementally grow QF capacity on E.Asia routes without touching frequency.

"...the prospect of a mix of some 50-odd options and purchase rights.."

Total widebody fleet size @ QF today minus those 744 x5(Planned to be retired soon) and 388 x12:

744ER x6 +330 x28 =34 airframes

Total 787 options+rights held by QF(Each contracted @ ultra low 787 launch pricing) =45 airframes

Clearly, QF has more than enough 787 in the pipeline than it needs for replacement + fufill JQ replacement needs.  There's potential growth in fleet size already built into those options+rights.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 21 Aug 2014

Total posts 186

Yes in the longrun they will replace the A330s and start some routes such as SYD-ICN (I recall a QF reprsentative saying they want to fly there), but I don't see them starting new Asian routes unless they order more 789s. I haven't factored in all the utilisation part so this is just a rough guess.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 11 Oct 2014

Total posts 386

I could see QF re-opening SYD-PEK non-stop as a priority and possibly at a later stage, MEL-PEK. In an age where the Chinese market is now our top inbound market, a single QF-metal SYD-PVG just doesn't cut it for brand awareness in the Chinese market. SYD-PEK was previously cut from the QF roster in order to allow QF to concentrate on offering a daily service.

Whilst others might suggest that these routes could be / are operated by partners or previous partners (China Eastern, Air China, China Southern), I think QF will wait to see the 'lay of the land' before diving in to 'secondary' Chinese cities.

Right now, there is quite a bit of serious chatter that some substantial re-alignment of of the Chinese carriers and their membership of global alliances (notably Star & Skyteam) which may result in movements, withdrawals and new members affectin all 3 alliances. Currently 'rumour' mode, but the appetite of some of the regionals is forcing the Chinese to re-evaluate as the regionals (Hainan, Xian, Spring etc) persue increased overseas routes.

SYD-ICN, as you suggest, is a high probability IMO. I also see re-evaluation of the Indian market being overdue, along with TPE, Japan, Singapore/Malaysia and the Philipines.


Member since 12 Dec 2012

Total posts 291

For the first batch of 8, look at current 747 routes. HND, HKG, LAX, SFO, YVR. SCL and JNB are off the table given current CASA ETOPS limits.

When the 787s start arriving, the oldest 2 747s will get retired. The 3 remaining -400s may get retired, QF has stated they will, but they might also stay around for a few more years (early-mid 2020s). The 6 ERs will likely stay until the late 2020s.

I don't see any new routes being opened until a 2nd batch of 787s come (and with 50 options/rights on the 787, there will be more firm orders. QF isn't going to give up their cheap 787 prices). You'd be looking at places like ICN, India, China, more Japan and US flights, and maybe Germany, Italy and France (pending changes to mainland France air service agreement which currently would only allow 5 flights a week with 787 sized aircraft)

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