British Airways brings its Boeing 787-9 to Sydney, Singapore

The modern mid-sized Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner will help BA revamp its network to suit a smaller market.

By David Flynn, December 7 2020
British Airways brings its Boeing 787-9 to Sydney, Singapore

British Airways plans to 'rightsize' its Kangaroo Route between London and Sydney via Singapore when the airline resumes flying to Australia in 2021.

The latest update to the Oneworld member's schedule shows the Boeing 777-300ER swapped out for the smaller but more modern Boeing 787-9 as of March 28, 2021.

BA suspended flights to Sydney in April 2020 in response to national lockdowns at Australia and Singapore intended to stem the spread of COVID-19.

The British flag-carrier now lists a March 2021 restart of its London-Singapore-Sydney service from March 2021, although of course that remains subject to change.

The BA15/BA16 flights will feature the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, offering passengers a more comfortable ride on the 23 hour trek – especially if they're nestled into one of BA's eight first class suites at the pointy end.

Sadly, business class retains the old Club World design, with a 2-3-2 layout adding a middle seat into the mix.

Before COVID-19 took hold, British Airways intended to begin upgrading all its Dreamliners to the newer Club Suites business class from 2022.

The Club Suite offers direct aisle access, greater personal space and a closing privacy door.

However, there's no telling how COVID-19 – which has been devastating to British Airways' revenue and cash flow – has impacted that refit plan.

Executive Traveller has approached British Airways for comment.

There's also no telling as to the shape of Australia's travel restrictions come March 2021.

All arriving passengers must currently enter a 14-day spell of hotel quarantine at their expense, while most residents of Australia are unable to leave the country without obtaining a travel exemption from the government.

Read more: Australian travel ban exemptions prove easy for some, hard for too many

Australia’s National Vaccination Policy has suggested that visitors to Australia may in future be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination, although Qantas CEO Alan Joyce last week noted that "it will become a binary choice for international travellers to either get the vaccine or quarantine for two weeks. And quarantine places are very limited."

The UK will this week begin its rollout of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which is also expected to be approved by Australian health authorities in January and available from March.

Once travellers have received the two-jab regime and brandish some form of 'vaccination passport' – either as a visa-style page within their regular passport or on a specialised smartphone app – this could open up an easier resumption of travel in both directions, from the UK to Australia and vice versa.


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.


03 May 2013

Total posts 657

Whats the point with the same rubbish business class. You'd have to have rocks in your head to pay all that money for a SYD-LHR flight in that.

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 384

The 'point', Joe, is that the Boeing 777-300ER would be too large and too fuel-thirsty for this route in the near future. I'm sure if BA felt it could swap in an Airbus A350 or one of the new Boeing 787-10s which have the new Club Suites it would have done so.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 470

The older style Business suites on BA are quite good IF you choose the right seat - window seat at a bulkhead or exit, where you'll have direct aisle access. Those seats are very private.

08 May 2020

Total posts 36

It’s good to see BA atleast keep the corridor open, many were worried BA15 would be dropped permanently.  I guess the Qatar joint venture helped it get back in the skies.


16 Nov 2011

Total posts 612

Re the BA A350’s and 787-10’s I read somewhere that their galleys are not big enough to service longer routes that require two full meal services. That would rule them out of operating to Singapore and beyond to Sydney. 

20 Oct 2015

Total posts 229

Yes, I think I read that about BA flying the A350 to Canada or the USA? A bit of a miscalculation on BA's part! Well with the B747s retired and the A380s still up on bricks, maybe there's room for BA to accelerate the refit of the 787-9s with Club Suites, as long as there's also the money of course.

17 Jun 2020

Total posts 255

Used BA a couple of times and admittedly not my first choice. But when at $7k versus $11k on the QF A380 via SIN, always has been a decent value option

I found the Skybed worse than the BA seat, food and ground experience similar on both.

There are way better business class options between Sydney and London, in fact if you listed them all I would say BA would have to come out last! But, if the price is right, if you can get BA15 or BA16 for thousands less than any competitors, then it's decent value. I think the best thing about BA16 though is getting off the plane at LHR T5 and hitting the Arrivals Lounge for a shower, get your shirt and pants pressed while you shower, then grab a good English breakfast before heading to your hotel if you can checkin early, or heading to the office or or your first meeting.

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 421

great option but why would anyone choose them when almost all of the mostly asian opposition run at least one day flight overnight to their hubs(singapore,bangkok,hong kong)and then a few hours later one can connect to a day flight to sydney if flying straight through.the other option if it was to return is the qf10 london to perth and then connect to the last flight of the day domestically if such an option exists.

09 Aug 2015

Total posts 90

If you're talking about travellers from London, it's simply a fact that BA is the automatic airline of choice for so many Brits, just like Qantas is for so many Aussies. A lot of more experienced flyers know there' are better options out there, are prepared to try a different airline, but a lot of people for many reasons will book on the 'flag carrier' or 'national airline'. Now if I was in London and especially if I had BA status I would probably look at OneWorld partners like Qatar, Qantas, Cathay Pacific or even JAL unless BA had Club Suites on BA15.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

08 Jun 2018

Total posts 96

Great point well made. Also worth noting that many UK businesses mandate using BA as first choice for bookings and whilst some do get a choice, many business travellers have to fly on the carrier of their employers choice. Now being based in UK I find myself using BA simply because its the easiest choice for status, etc unless you are flying the same route over and over. The Club Suites are a vast improvement which should, hopefully, be more fully rolled out over time. Given my preference for stopover in Singapore as I often stop there for a day or two (and that I usually fly into Sydney) I usually now (or rather did until COVID) choose whichever of Qantas or BA was best value (I know I could use SG but they are not convenient for any of my other flying).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 May 2015

Total posts 44

So we will we less F award availability now that F will be reduced from 14 seats to 8 seats?

I think that's a given.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 339

The way BA has treated its staff during this pandemic and their ghastly hard and soft product means I avoid them like the plague nowadays!!

Gone are the days when BA actually stood for something good, innovative and appealing!! 

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