Qantas' international Boeing 787-9s will become a regular sight in Australian skies as the airline swings the Dreamliner onto selected domestic routes.
In the days before COVID, the big twin-aisle jet flew flagship routes to the likes of London and the USA.
But with overseas travel now largely ruled out until at least December 2021, and local demand soaring to the point where Qantas will soon exceed 100% of pre-COVID levels, the Dreamliner is taking Australia under its wing.
The Boeing 787-9 will make its domestic debut between Sydney and Perth as of Wednesday May 26, with up to nine flights per week – and it's easily the best way to make that coast to coast trek.
In addition to the 42 business class seats, which are the latest version of the Qantas Business Suite design, there are also 28 premium economy seats which will be made available to top-tier Qantas Frequent Flyers.
Premium economy isn't sold on these domestic flights – only economy and business class fares are listed on the Qantas website – but Gold, Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers will see rows from the premium economy cabin appear on the seating chart when making an economy booking and selecting their seat.
All other economy passengers will see a seatmap beginning at row 40, which is the Dreamliner's actual economy class cabin (that said, rows 40 and 46 give you plenty of extra legroom).
At the time of writing, the Boeing 787-9 appears on the following flights:
- Sydney-Perth, QF645 (departs Sydney at 10.25am, arrives into Perth at 1.20pm)
- Perth-Sydney, QF648 (departs Perth at 2.35pm, arrives into Sydney at 8.35pm)
More Airbus A330s, too
But it's not all about those advanced, comfortable and fuel-efficient Boeings: Qantas is also rolling out more of its Airbus A330s, specifically the A330-300s which previously dominated Australia-Asia routes.
The A330-300s will be added to the rosters for Sydney-Perth and Melbourne-Perth, where they'll feature alongside the domestic A330-200s, as well as Sydney-Darwin and Brisbane-Darwin.
The A330s sport an earlier version of the same Business Suite business class as the Boeing 787s, with direct aisle access for every passenger, plenty of elbow room and legroom, a large video screen and a seat which folds down to become a fully flat bed.
"We know how popular the 787s and A330s are with our customers on our international network and we think there will be huge demand for the domestic flights these aircraft operate on, particularly frequent flyers looking to use points" says Andrew David, the CEO of Qantas' domestic and international operations.
"Our strategy of adding new domestic routes is generating revenue from our aircraft rather than leaving them on the ground. It means more work for our people and even more low fares for our customers."