Perth gets set for Boeing 787 bonanza

By David Flynn, June 27 2013

Perth could end up as Australia’s favourite destination for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, with three airlines set to fly the next-generation jet into the West Australian capital.

Earlier this week Air New Zealand confirmed Auckland-Perth as one of the first routes for its Boeing 787-9, along with Shanghai and Tokyo.

The choice of Perth as the Kiwi flag-carrier’s first Australian port of call for the 787 may cause a bit of east-west envy in Sydney or Melbourne, but the airline says that Perth simple offers better “operating efficiencies” for the flights from Auckland.

“The longer flight distance means more cruise time, less time on the ground and fewer operating cycles” Air New Zealand spokeswoman Marie Hosking told Australian Business Traveller. “Perth is also growth market for us.”

Air New Zealand's striking Boeing 787 livery
Air New Zealand's striking Boeing 787 livery

Air New Zealand is Boeing's launch customer for the 787-9, a stretched version of the original 787-8 Dreamliner which can carry an estimated 40 more passengers than the base model 787-8 while also boasting greater range.

The airline expects to take delivery of the first 787-9 in the middle of next year, with two more to follow around September. 

Read: Air New Zealand reveals Boeing 787 routes, seating 

Jetstar’s domestic Dreamliner runs 

Perth is also on the list for Jetstar’s Australian debut of its Boeing 787s in November, before the aircraft is pressed into international service.

Mark Dal Pra, who leads Jetstar’s 787 program, told Australian Business Traveller that popular domestic routes from Sydney, Melbourne and Perth to the Gold Coast and Cairns “are currently being considered”.

Jetstar will fly its Dreamliner in Aussie skies before international services start
Jetstar will fly its Dreamliner in Aussie skies before international services start

Jetstar will roster its 787 onto routes currently flown by the airline’s Airbus A320 fleet and will provide a “great window of opportunity for thousands of domestic travellers to experience the 787” says Dal Pra.

Read: Jetstar details Boeing 787 config: 335 seats, USB power, touchscreens

Qatar’s 787 Kangaroo Route

However, Gulf carrier Qatar Airways could still pip Jetstar for bragging rights to Australia’s first commercial Boeing 787 flights.

Qatar previously announced a daily Perth-Doha Boeing 787 service would start on February 1st, only to cancel the launch two weeks prior as airlines around the world grounding the Dreamliner after a series of critical overheating problems with the lithium-ion battery system.

Qatar’s 787 fleet is now back in the air and the airline could essily resurrect its plans for Perth, which will also let passengers fly the Dreamliner all the way through to London – ideally in business class, which recently took out top spot in the World Airline Awards.

Best in class: Qatar's spacious Boeing 787 business class
Best in class: Qatar's spacious Boeing 787 business class

Australian travellers would arrive into Doha on the Perth flight QR901 at 5.20am and transfer to the London-bound QR75 Dreamliner, which leaves Doha 6.40am.

Despite tight timing between the two flights, a Qatar Airways spokesman assured Australian Business Traveller that “this connection is correct and it’s very bookable.”

“Doha is very efficient in moving passengers from aircraft to aircraft and the passengers will make the connection easily” he said, adding a little positive spin that “the best thing about it (is) there’s no waiting around."

Photo tour: Inside Qatar Airways' Boeing 787 Dreamliner

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David

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.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Apr 2013

Total posts 3

Hmm - flew through Doha with Qatar (Perth-Rome, then Istanbul-Perth on return). 777 in business between Perth-Doha was sensational, great service, very comfortable seating, food etc. Highly recommend Qatar. As to the tight connections being OK, we were delayed 30 minutes leaving Istanbul for operational reasons, then held another hour plus at the gate I guess because we'd lost our slot. All up arrived nearly 2 hours late into Doha. Given there is only one flight daily between Perth and Doha a tight connection would have seen us spending an unscheduled night/day in Doha. As it was, the flight to Perth leaves at a very late 2.40am! so a long 6 hour stopover for us.


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