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 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.
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 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.
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.
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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