Qantas boosts Boeing 787s to Perth, grows Embraer E190 regional fleet

Transcontinental travellers from Sydney and Brisbane will find more Dreamliners pulling up at their Perth-bound gate...

By Chris Chamberlin, June 17 2021
Qantas boosts Boeing 787s to Perth, grows Embraer E190 regional fleet

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.

Read: How you can fly Qantas' Boeing 787-9 between Sydney and Perth

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.

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.

Also read: Qantas vs Rex on the short Sydney-Canberra hop

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.

Also read: Virgin Australia adds Cairns, Darwin, Townsville routes

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Jun 2021

Total posts 1

I assume Qantas haven't loaded the aircraft changes into their booking system as yet. I am currently booked on QF643 in August but it is still listed as the A330. My return flight is luckily on the 787 and I was able to select a PE seat due to Gold status. Hoping to do the same for the flight over.

Shame not used on overnight flights to Sydney and Brisbane 

Lmc
Lmc

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Nov 2018

Total posts 97

Jetstar into Canberra!!! I would assume Melbourne to Canberra to start soon as well, perhaps to combat REX. 

17 Jun 2021

Total posts 1

Interesting move with the E190 fleet. I wonder if they're planning to replace the aging Q400 fleet and it's actual QLink crew with these contractor services...

Lmc
Lmc

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Nov 2018

Total posts 97

The Q400 fleet is still young with the oldest delivered new in 2008. The Q300 and the 3 Q200 on the other hand were delivered in 2000 onwards or 21 years old. 

The E190 may replace the ageing B717’s with many approaching 20 years old. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 295

The E190 crews are from Alliance.   Basically a wet-lease with QF paying extra to paint the E190 in QantasLink colours, thus they're basically kept to QantasLink services and not wet leased to other companies (The QFLink painted E190s may occasionally appear on Alliance's own charter/subsidised regional work however).

Lmc
Lmc

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Nov 2018

Total posts 97

Also worth noting the E190’s that they will be receiving are over 16 years old! And the Fokkers are 26-29 years old! 

03 May 2021

Total posts 7

I know right I went been on the QantasLink Fokker 4 times and the cabin is extremely old and outdated, still no plans for their retirement

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1294

They may be using the E190s to buy time and price leverage for a later say 2025 A220 order.

10 Jun 2018

Total posts 18

If considering a future order of the A220 or Embraer 190/5 it makes a lot of sense for the Qantas group to have had years of dealing with both companies...and planes of that size on Qantas' routes.

Apart from the present reasons for using the E190s, it also gives Qantas a deep understanding of the aircraft companies, the planes, customer satisfaction the interaction of all that on the final economics...and Airbus and Embraer (Boeing) will know that and factor into their prices.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1294

Mark the Embraer Boeing deal fell through a couple of months back.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 May 2013

Total posts 22

Yes, the A220 is the way to go!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Sep 2012

Total posts 218

Doesn't make economic sense to invest in growing an Embraer fleet and train crew and pilots with this type to then suddenly swap it all for a more expensive A220 order which will need crew re-training and changes to facilities within a 10 year period. To me it seems like AJ's dangling the carrot to get a potentially better deal with the Embraer E2 jets, but that's just my theory. 

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1294

Jedinak Qantas isn’t investing in the E190 Alliance is as a wet lease. This buys Qantas time to haggle with Airbus or Embraer while not incurring a cost. Crew and pilots are now all Allience not Qantas. So Qantas still has a choice to bargain about.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Jun 2013

Total posts 41

Loved the 787 in PE last week, but no wifi compared to my a330 return. It may sway my decision next time not to fly the Dreamliner.

11 Apr 2018

Total posts 20

The sale of no PE seats on 787s seems an odd choice financially but assume they are rewarding their high level FFs in these difficult times . As only Silver , the opportunity to fly PE to Perth would have made it attractive , or at least more attractive. Not sure the economy is any better on these than other aircraft 


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