Qantas is ramping up domestic flying even further, with Boeing 787s appearing on more cross-country flights to Perth, and plans to grow the size of its regional fleet with the help of Alliance Airlines.
Extra services are also on the blocks for Canberra, with Jetstar getting a small boost as well.
Double-daily Boeing 787s for Sydney-Perth
From Monday June 21, Qantas will use its Boeing 787s on two return flights each day between Sydney and Perth, building on the current schedule of one daily return Dreamliner flight.
Departing Sydney, here are the flights to look for:
- QF643, leaving Sydney at 8:25am and reaching Perth at 11:20am.
- QF645, departing Sydney at 10:25am, touching down in Perth at 1:20pm.
Back from Perth, these flight numbers will find you aboard the Dreamliner:
- QF646, pushing back at 12:50pm, and arriving into Sydney at 6:50pm.
- QF648, set for departure at 2:35pm in Perth, ahead of an 8:35pm Sydney arrival.
Qantas’ Boeing 787s offer the carrier’s signature Business Suites in business class, providing ample space to work, dine, and relax on the transcontinental trek.
However, these aircraft also come with premium economy seating, yet Qantas isn't selling premium economy fares.
Instead, Qantas Gold, Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman’s Lounge members booked in economy class are able to nab a more spacious seat in the premium economy zone, albeit with standard economy cabin service.
This is available on a first-come, first-served basis, and at no extra charge over and above the standard economy fare.
Boeing 787s also for Brisbane-Perth
Come Wednesday June 23, Qantas is also winging these Boeing 787s onto selected Brisbane-Perth flights, as below:
- Brisbane to Perth: QF941, departing 12:55pm with a 4:20pm arrival.
- Perth to Brisbane: QF940, pushing back at 5:20pm to reach Brisbane at 11:30pm.
Note, the Dreamliner doesn’t make the journey on Tuesdays – instead offering six return flights per week.
When booking flights on the Qantas website, you can confirm that the Dreamliner is set to operate your flight by looking for the "B787" icon near the flight number – not to be confused with the similar-looking "B737" icon:
You can also click that icon, or the flight number, to open a pop-up flight information screen: look for "Boeing 787-9" next to "aircraft type".
As with Sydney-Perth flights, the premium economy rows remain open to frequent flyers booked into economy: again, with standard economy cabin service.
Flights currently planned for the Boeing 787 are already live in Qantas' booking system, so if the Dreamliner isn't appearing on future dates you search, the airline has likely shifted the aircraft to another route.
QantasLink grows Embraer E190 fleet
Through its partnership with Alliance Airlines, QantasLink has recently added the Embraer E190 to its fleet, primarily appearing on long but less-travelled routes like Darwin to Alice Springs, and Alice Springs to Adelaide.
With three E190s already flying and previous plans to grow that fleet to 14, QantasLink has now committed to leasing 18 E190s in total, all to be painted in QantasLink livery.
“Expanding our long-standing relationship with Alliance gives us access to a different aircraft type without spending any capital,” explains Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.
“The E190 is perfect for connecting capital cities and regional centres. Its size, range and economics have already let us start seven new routes that wouldn’t have worked with our existing fleet.”
Not only can the E190 make regional routes more economical to fly, its presence also frees up large Boeing 737 jets to be used elsewhere on the Qantas network.
Canberra-Adelaide flights doubled
One of many routes to benefit from more Boeing 737s being available is Canberra-Adelaide, which will climb from nine return flights a week at present, to 18 return flights a week from mid-July.
Qantas Group airline Jetstar also announced plans to launch Brisbane-Canberra flights from September, being the first time Jetstar has served the nation’s capital.
Jetstar’s domestic fleet grows
With Australian domestic travel ramping up as international flying takes a back seat, Jetstar is temporarily moving three Airbus A320 jets from Singapore-based Jetstar Asia to Australia, to serve on domestic flights.
“Since travel demand started to recover about a year ago, our strategy has been to think creatively about how we use our fleet to add capacity back in, generate revenue and get more of our people back to work,” said Joyce.
“That’s why we now have 787s flying domestically and A320s on loan from Jetstar airlines in Asia.”
The three Jetstar Asia planes join six A320s already in Australia on loan from Jetstar Japan, as Jetstar expects its Australian domestic operations to become 20% larger than pre-COVID in the 2021-22 financial year.