Qantas: no public access to Boeing 787 Dreamliner during Sydney, Melbourne visits

By David Flynn, November 14 2011
Qantas: no public access to Boeing 787 Dreamliner during Sydney, Melbourne visits

LATEST | Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner will make a second visit to Australia starting Thursday May 24, 2012 – and this time we'll be going on a test flight! Click here for all the details.

PREVIOUS | Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner will visit Sydney and Melbourne airports this week on a whistle-stop tour arranged by Qantas.

But for members of the public it’ll be a case of “look but don’t touch” – in fact, even catching a glimpse of the next-gen jetliner will pose a challenge for all but the most ardent planespotters.

While the airline initially had every intention to do provide some form of public access – including what airline spokeswoman Olivia Wirth previously described as "open days and that sort of thing, so people can come and see it" – Qantas spokesman Justin Kelly told Australian Business Traveller today this unfortunately didn’t work out.

As a result, a clearly disappointed Kelly told us, there would be “no public component” to the 787 visits to Sydney or Melbourne airport.

Three ways to see the Boeing 787 Dreamliner at Sydney Airport

However, Kelly shared three tips for Sydney-based Australian Business Traveller readers hoping to see the Dreamliner in the flesh (err, metal – no, sorry, make that carbon composite).

1. Your first chance will be when the 787 arrives on Tuesday morning, November 15th, flying in from a Boeing-Air New Zealand showcase event held at Auckland over the weekend.

The Dreamliner is expected to land at Sydney International Airport “around 11am” on Tuesday, Kelly says.

2. Travellers at Qantas’ Sydney domestic terminal (and Qantas Frequent Flyers who can blag their way into the airport’s lounges despite lack of a boarding pass) should get a close-up view of the 787 “around 12.45pm”, Kelly suggests, “as it’s towed past into the hanger.”

That hanger is Hangar 416 at Qantas’ Sydney Jet Base, where the Dreamliner will have decals for the Qantas and Jetstar logos applied and be otherwise made ready for its Australian debut on Wednesday November 16th.

A series of tours of the 787 are behind held on Wednesday, beginning with an invitation-only media tour starting at 8am and followed by tours of Qantas staff, VIPs and a number of Platinum One frequent flyers.

3. Around 8.30am on Thursday November 17th, the 787 will take off for Melbourne Airport for a similar show’n’tell (held mainly for Jetstar staff, Qantas says).

The Dreamliner will land at Melbourne around 10am, and be there for two days before flying out around 9.30am on Saturday November 19th to head home to Seattle.

(The Sydney event will also feature John Travolta’s refurbed Qantas Boeing 707, as Travolta is in town, although the man himself won’t be at the airport. Qantas hoped to showcase its first Boeing 737-800 with Boeing Sky Interior, although that’s now unconfirmed, while an upgraded 747-400 with A380-style seats and interior has been pulled from the program.)

There won’t be much to see inside the 787 Dreamliner, as the cabin will be outfitted with test equipment (Boeing also has 30 engineers on-hand to monitor the kit during the down-under junket) rather than conventional seating from tip to tail, "and therefore far from showroom standard" according to Boeing exec Scott Francher.

Nonetheless, Australian Business Traveller will of course be attending a media-only tour of the 787 on Wednesday morning and we'll bring you some snaps here, and even fling a few live from inside the 787 on our @AusBT Twitter channel.

Also in AusBT's Boeing 787 Dreamliner coverage:


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.

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