It's less than a year until Qantas is handed the keys to its first Boeing 787, and there's plenty of interest in the Dreamliner and what it means for the Flying Kangaroo. We've pulled together the answers to some of the most-asked questions...
When we will see the first Qantas Boeing 787?
Qantas expects to take delivery of its first Boeing 787-9 in October 2017 and will fly the advanced jet from Boeing’s Dreamliner factory north of Seattle back to Sydney for what’s sure to be a major media event bursting with razzle-dazzle.
Three more red-tailed Dreamliners from this initial order of eight jets will follow to mid-2018, with four more joining the fleet by mid-2019.
Where will the Qantas Boeing 787s fly?
Qantas will reveal the first Boeing 787 routes towards the end of 2016, when bookings open for that flight. This will be on an existing international route, and one that's currently served by a Boeing 747 aircraft.
The jet is also likely to make some 'surprise and delight' appearances on Qantas' domestic network before taking wing on its international route.
Such 'proving runs' have been standard procedure for all airlines introducing the Boeing 787 (and its rival, the Airbus A350) to their fleet.
These flights help the cabin and ground crews become more familiar with the new jets in day-to-day operation, as well as being a valuable public relations exercise for the airline (especially in this era of social media).
The first quarter of 2017 will see Qantas reveal the first of several new international Dreamliner destinations, potentially based on the additional three Boeing 787s due for delivery by mid-2018.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has talked up a series of long-range non-stop flights such as Melbourne-Dallas, Sydney-Chicago and even Perth-London.
Read more: Where will Qantas fly its new Dreamliners?
How many Boeing 787s does Qantas have on order?
Qantas still has a total of 45 Dreamliners on the books, stretching back to a massive order the airline placed for the next-generation jet in 2005 (when Qantas expected its first 787 to arrive in July 2009).
15 of the Boeing 787 orders are classified as ‘options’ and come with a guaranteed delivery slot should Qantas decide to buy them.
30 more Dreamliners are earmarked as ‘purchase rights’ but don’t have a fixed delivery timeframe.
In both cases Qantas has locked in a very low purchase price for the Boeing 787s stemming from its initial 2005 order rather than the current $US265 million (A$346m) list price – although airlines rarely ever pay the sticker prices, and discounts can be as deep as 40%.
How are these different to the Boeing 787s which Jetstar flies?
Jetstar opted for the original 787-8 model, which was the first to roll off Boeing’s assembly line.
The 787-8 is slightly smaller than Qantas’ 787-9 variant, carrying fewer passengers and flying a reduced range.
What will be the configuration of Qantas’ Boeing 787s?
The Qantas Dreamliners will be fitted with business class, premium economy and economy seating, totalling 236 seats from tip to tail as split below:
- 42 business class seats: an upgraded version of the existing Qantas’ A330 Business Suite
- 28 premium economy seats, split across four rows in a 2-3-2 layout, in what Qantas says will be a revolutionary design
- 166 seats in economy, in a 3-3-3 arrangement with an extra inch of legroom compared to Qantas' A380s
It's likely that inflight Internet will also be available on Qantas' Boeing 787s, but there are no plans for first class, which will remain exclusive to the flagship Airbus A380 superjumbos.
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