Qantas brings back Boeing 747 jumbo jet on Sydney-Perth this week

By David Flynn, July 10 2012
Qantas brings back Boeing 747 jumbo jet on Sydney-Perth this week

Qantas is once again wheeling out the big guns on Australia's most popular cross-country route, with a mighty Boeing 747 flying daily flight between Sydney and Perth from this week.

The jumbo is assigned to the daily QF581/582 service. QF581 leaves Sydney at 10.10am for arrival into Perth at 1.15pm, then turns around to become the QF582 flight out of Perth at 2.35pm, landing in Sydney at 8.40pm.

Qantas previously lobbed the jumbo onto those same flights in May 2011 as a bulwark against Virgin Australia's launch of its 'Coast to Coast' Airbus A330 service, but later removed the 747 and returned to its own mainly A330 flights. 

But with Virgin having added two new Airbus A330s with lie-flat business class seats to the transcontinental trek, the Red Roo is once again rolling out its international-grade 747 for the 5+ hour flight between Sydney and Perth.

When the Boeing 747 made its May 2011 debut on the Sydney-Perth route Qantas CEO Alan Joyce trumpeted that "Increasing the premium service we provide business customers flying from east to west will help further cement our position as the ‘Best for Business’ airline."

“Our competitors can simply not match the service that Qantas offers, particularly the Skybeds, which provide increased comfort on the longer routes between the eastern states and Perth."

Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti, unable to resist taking a shot at Qantas, responded that his Airbus A330s were "here to stay – (they) won't come in and out of routes like other large-body aircraft".

The jumbo's comeback is part of the airlines' ongoing battle, with Qantas determined to defend its own oft-quoted 'line in the sand' of 65% market share while Virgin Australia edges closer to the other side of that same line as the challenger continues to woo lucrative corporate travellers.

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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.

A 747 is not cheap... does anyone know what happens to it when it's not in it's Syd-Perth 5.5hours (including prep), 45 min turn around, 5 hours back to Syd?

... that's about 12 hours a day of 747 (albeit old and tatty) doing nothing?

(or is it?)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Nov 2011

Total posts 186

No they are not cheap, the aircraft used last time was almost exclusively VH - OJD, the only 2 class 747 left. Since then that aircraft has spent a lot of time sitting around or doing the occasional SYD-NRT run, which if you ask me is a waste as they either cannot sell W or they seat W in the downstairs J cabin.  The aircraft like many other does sit in SYD O/N, but QF probably use it as a standby spare in case it is needed as a substitute etc.

A real game changer would be if VH - OJD is one of the aircraft slated for Sale. Giving QF the opportunity to run a 3 or 4 class 747! W seats for WP ecconomy PAX or F seats for WP J PAX!  Admittedly this is largely wishful thinking here!

09 Nov 2011

Total posts 88

Qantas 747-400 - probably getting close to it's 20th birthday. Virgin Airbus lie flats - delivered 2 months ago factory fresh. Let's also not forget the Qantas return 767-300 service SYD - PTH and the 3 x 767 MEL - PTH services daily - even older with very ordinary J class seats and poor entertainment offerings. There is the ever increasing gap between Virgin and Qantas service to consider as well.

The other thing is that I have travelled on the 'lie flat' offerings with both Qantas and Virgin between Sydney and Perth - after getting through Business class lunch/dinner service, there is not much time to actually lie flat to sleep in the middle of the day. For those that do board the aircraft to sleep (I haven't seen anyone do that yet), there is a great deal of cabin activity going on as the awake people want service!! - so don't know how much quiet time they would get. The 747 would be probably more sensible on the red eye QF 568 that leaves Perth around midnight and arrives in Sydney at 6:00am. For those that wait until the morning, you have a 767 or a 737-800 if you want to arrive in Sydney before midday - hmmm - no lie flats there either.

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