Qantas intends to launch non-stop daily Boeing 787 flights between Perth and Paris as the second part of its direct-to-Europe network
But don't rush out to buy your tickets – the Paris-bound Dreamliner (or should be be Seineliner?) won't take off until around 2020 and hinges on the airline purchasing a second tranche of the advanced jets, beyond the eight already signed up.
"For the first time we have daily rights for Paris," Alan Joyce told Australian Business Traveller in Seattle on the sidelines of the delivery ceremony for the first red-tailed Dreamliner.
"Last time we were in Paris we only could do three days a week, which made it sub-economical and meant that we weren’t attracting the business market, but now that has changed."
Joyce expects to see a third non-stop flight into Germany, with Frankfurt – which the airline previously flew via Singapore before axing the route in 2013 – sitting on the shortlist.
"Germany is still a big market and it's been hard for us in the past when we were flying through a hub, so the opportunity there is actually quite real."
The next Dreamliners a few years away
However, no new Boeing 787 routes can be entertained unless the airline takes up more of its 45 'orders and options' for the fuel-efficient jets.
"The first eight aircraft are already allocated, so Paris would have to come from number nine or after," Joyce noted.
Joyce said that the airline would look at ordering more Dreamliners from 2018 but "there will be a gap" between signing on the dotted line and being handed over the keys.
"Next year we’ll have to start making calls (and) there are some that come available from the end of 2019 to 2020."
"We do need to bed down the (Boeing 787) operation, we want to to demonstrate to the market and our shareholders that these 787s are making economic sense and we can make a good profit and return (from them)."
"And we're keen on building up our new western hub our of Perth and over time we obviously have to demonstrate we can make money out of Perth-London and that this aircraft performs well on that route."
Those new Dreamliners could then fly Melbourne-Perth-Paris or Brisbane-Perth-Paris, depending on which east coast city the new aircraft are based in.
Joyce said Qantas could also open a new Boeing 787 base in Sydney to start Sydney-Perth-Paris flights.
"What it comes down to is that we're looking for state governments and airports to be supportive of us, because we know these services are good for the states and good for the airports."
"The great thing about Brisbane and Melbourne and Perth is that the governments got behind that and made it happen. Hopefully when we're looking at further aircraft we'll the same co-operation from Sydney for those aircraft to be based there."
David Flynn is visiting Seattle as a guest of Qantas and Boeing.