Qantas to fly first Boeing 787 in October 2017

By Chris Chamberlin , August 4 2016
Qantas to fly first Boeing 787 in October 2017

Qantas will take the reins of its first Boeing 787-9 in October 2017 and expects to reveal the first Dreamliner routes by year's end.

Speaking to Australian Business Traveller at the CAPA Australia Pacific Summit 2016, Qantas International CEO Gareth Evans confirmed the October delivery of the first red-tailed Dreamliner, with three more to follow by June 2018 and another four in the twelve months after that.

Qantas still has 15 purchase options and 30 purchase rights for the next-gen jetliner up its sleeve, and is tipped to take up some of those orders this year.

The fuel-efficient Boeing 787-9s will replace older Boeing 747s and also be used to launch new international destinations, with an eye towards 'monopoly routes' such as Melbourne-Dallas and Sydney-Chicago where Qantas faces no competition.

“We’re working through exactly where those planes are going to fly right now,” Evans explains, highlighting that “the range that (the Boeing 787) brings and the capability that it brings to fly ultra-long distances is extremely important for a carrier like us.”

Read: Where will Qantas fly its new Dreamliners?

It’s understood that the seating configuration on board will be heavily geared towards business class and premium economy passengers.

According to one internal Qantas Boeing 787-9 configuration plan sighted by Australian Business Traveller the Dreamliners could see 42 seats in business class, 28 in premium economy and just 165 in economy.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has previously said the airline's Boeing 787-9s would sport "a very luxurious configuration,", beginning with business class seats based on the airline's highly-regarded Airbus A330 Business Suite (below).

AusBT review: Qantas A330 Business Suite business class

"There will be a big business class and a big premium economy cabin," Joyce promised – and while the economy seats will be nine-across in a 3-3-3 arrangement, Joyce maintained "we will be giving some very good seat pitch for economy seats given the the lengths we’ll be flying."

Read more: Qantas CEO promises "very luxurious" Boeing 787 configuration

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Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 May 2011

Total posts 229

Is anyone wondering if more business class seats might also mean cheaper (even slightly) business class fares?

One should live on hope shouldn't they? :)

BA

29 Jul 2016

Total posts 16

Having a higher premium seat configuration won't result in cheaper fares.  Several reasons; the national carrier can command a premium in its home market due to nationalism, corporate contracts,  non-stop services, FFP tie-ins and so forth.   What  will reduce fares (or contain fares growth) is market dynamics including competition. The more competition the better,  for the market and for the traveller.   You've seen this over many years in terms of overall market growth, new services and cheaper fares relative to inflationary outcomes.   However,  for some cities, like ADL, PER, MEL for example, the number of QF-metal services dwindled (or evaoprated entirely) but overall in those markets, there is now much more consumer choice and value (including lower fares) than years ago.  

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Jun 2014

Total posts 254

Are VA attending the CAPA Australia Pacific Summit? Would be keen on some news from them! =D

Yes, Velocity CEO Karl Schuster is speaking later this afternoon. Alan Joyce is also scheduled to present tomorrow morning.

03 Aug 2015

Total posts 59

Hey Chris do you know if Malindo Air is speaking, rumored to be announcing KUL-DPS-BNE/MEL?

03 Aug 2015

Total posts 59

and if so when 

log0008: If there's news to report on Malindo Air, we'll report it. If not, we won't.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2013

Total posts 388

hopefully Alan will give us more of a sneak peak at what type economy the 787s will have?

Not today.

02 Jun 2013

Total posts 49

Tiger Air CEO also speaking this afternoon. 

05 May 2016

Total posts 583

It will be interesting if more business class seats on the 787 leads to a greater opportunity for upgrades and the elusive op-up.

BA

29 Jul 2016

Total posts 16

Qantas will manage their upgrade availability based on route demand and dynamics, coupled with any consumer compliance obligation, not simply number of seats in cabin.    Similarly, their overbooking profile (thus Ops-Up opportunities) will be based on the historic no-show factor on the cabin, the day of operation and the overall route or its estimate, plus regularity of schedule, (for example daily vs only several times weekly.)    Don't hold a high expectation!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2013

Total posts 388

if they order another 8-10 787s would be enough to fully replace the 6 ER747s for a total 16-18 787-9s

04 Nov 2012

Total posts 219

and we live in hope QF will drop those outragious award fees and charges at some point.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2013

Total posts 388

and between 20-25 for up to an extra 8.5 aircraft extra (235 seats) o the basis of number seats compared to the current 350~seater 747s. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Aug 2011

Total posts 161

Hoping it's a chance to uplift PER-SIN

I hope this will mean the end of questions on the forum of people asking when Qantas will fly the 787, like it's such a game changing event.

On a separate note, BA pax are grumbling about the comfort of 787 in Y, reinforcing the idea that it's not such a fab aircraft. Apparently it's too cramped.

05 May 2016

Total posts 583

Any aircraft with Y seats is uncomfortable for long haul international. Difficult to sleep with your knees hard up against the seat in front.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

15 Aug 2012

Total posts 175

It's an awesome plane to fly in, the 787 is a cut above the rest, but Boeing can't tell airlines how to configure their seats etc... 

What would you prefer, tiger airways A320 or an Air New Zealand A320? Same aircraft, very different seat and service!

I'd prefer the airline and the onboard product (holistically). I would not go out of my way to fly 787, ceteris paribus.

All things remaining equal, the only time i would choose a particular aircraft over another in Y, if it is an A380 with Y cabin on the upper deck. The reason for the choice is the 2-4-2 layout and the side cabinets at the window seats.

The 787 only offers supposedly, better cabin atmosphere and a gimicky window shade feature, which has the potential to put you out of control on drawing the window shades due to the override function by the cabin crew.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

15 Aug 2012

Total posts 175

But that's the point, not all airlines with a380's have y on the upper deck with that configuration, same aircraft different experience/comfort.

But the 787 is a great experience, no question about it.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1227

Nope.

14 Feb 2012

Total posts 37

I have flown on several 787s now and without a doubt the "supposed" cabin pressure difference to the old fashioned jets makes a huge difference.  I fly from Sydney to London 4 - 5 per year using a variety of airlines, my last trip with VN had a 787 from Vietnam to the UK and I can say I felt more refreshed than normal after that flight distance. I think if you asked the cabin crew of airlines with the 787 and A380 in their fleets you would find there is a preference to the 787.

3-3-3 economy configuration is terrible though, JAL is one of the few (maybe only) airlines that does 2-4-2 in their 787 economy class, people don't fly them because the airfares are $11 more than the cheap airlines (I'm being a little sarcastic btw). It always amazes me how people moan about seat pitch and width but won't do a little research and pay a little more to support the airlines that don't pack everyone in like sardines.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 994

JAL and ANA were the first airlines to get 787s. They put in 8 across because that's what Boeing designed the aircraft for.

When other airlines started getting their orders and put in 9 across, ANA changed their fleet.

When JAL started updating seats, they kept it at 8 across and are now the only airline that has 8 across in their 787s. They are using it as a selling point.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Mar 2015

Total posts 86

I pray for Mel-DFW; then I can avoid my two most disliked airports Syd and LAX!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Jul 2015

Total posts 223

Melbourne Tullamarine..... Try building a rail link for it to be taken seriously.  

24 Apr 2015

Total posts 129

BNE/DFW ?

We had DFW/BNE until QF switched from 744 to A380

08 Jul 2016

Total posts 3

On their 787-9, JAL have 44 business, 35 premium econ and 116 in economy. Given that Qantas will have just 1 row less of premium economy, 165 seats in economy suggests that the claim by Mr Joyce that , " we will be giving some very good seat pitch for economy seats", will in fact be underwhelming.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1256

I'd suggest the 3-3-3 configuration that Qantas will go for, will contribute to a fair few number of those seats.. it's like an extra 5 rows. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Dec 2012

Total posts 38

nikojas, I completely agree with you. Y on the QF 789 isn't going to be anything to write home about. Maybe the seat pitch will be 32-33, up from the average 31, but I bet that's about it. Ultimately, it's just not worth airlines to provide extra comfort in Y and hope to charge a premium; essentially, Economy Plus is this exact premium charge scheme for greater pitch, yet you look at any booking map a month out and you can guarentee normal Economy will be twice as full as Plus. I'm honestly surprised that JAL continues to opearte their 787s with a 2-4-2 in the back. It's great to fly with them but, they don't even promote themselves as the only airline doing that, and their Y fares are comparable to everyone else who does 3-3-3 (or 3-4-3 on a 777). I'm guessing they've just decided that a retrofit would cost even more than the added revenue. Overall though, it's a disappointment that all future Boeing widebodies will have narrow seats and average pitch unless you pay for exit rows or Plus seats... I for one would actually go out of my way to fly Airbus widebodies for this reason, but I'm pretty positive I'm a small minority. And of course, this is all moot if you're in the front of the plane for those who can so! :)

21 Aug 2015

Total posts 90

I agree, the 350 is a great aircraft............and more comfortable.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Aug 2014

Total posts 513

Only thing left is the plans for the interior of the aircraft.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Oct 2013

Total posts 5

I'd like to see some new Brisbane routes. Fingers crossed.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 959

Perth LHR seems to have dropped off the earlier route options mentioned, but it will be a monopoly (as they wish) and make sense esecially for Adelaide and Canberra Connections. One less stop on QF metal. 

05 May 2016

Total posts 583

I would love it if there was a direct flight from PER-LHR. Could do the connection in Australia rather than somewhere overseas on the way. Would want the cost to be similar to MEL/SYD-LHR though.

05 May 2016

Total posts 583

Come to think of it, it would be nice if sometimes there was an international QANTAS flight from MEL/SYD to PER then onto LHR so one  would already be airside in the international terminal when arriving in Perth.

I'd bet BNE - DFW is on the list since it would be a monopoly route, help prove the 787-9s ETOPS credentials to CASA, and would give QF a second North American destination out of Virgin Australia's home turf.

Were they to do this, we'd expect the 747 serving BNE-LAX-JFK get downgauged to a 787 as well, for capacity reasons.

05 May 2016

Total posts 583

I'd like to see QF do some direct flights between MEL and SFO again.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2012

Total posts 6

Hear Hear..but what chance with Sydney-centric Qantas ?

03 Aug 2015

Total posts 59

Longer term I hope Qantas needs something larger than the 787 (777X or A350) hopefully they will operate out of Sydney while the 787's can focus on the other ports (MEL, BNE, etc)

05 May 2016

Total posts 583

The 787 has less seats than the 747 so to carry the same load they would need more flights. If they do more flights presumably some of the extra ones could go directly between MEL and  SFO. Maybe once or twice a week.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Mar 2016

Total posts 169

From my understanding, in addition to the 789s, QANTAS is currently weighing up whether to go with the 777X or the A350 as its future large capacity flagship product. Most airlines still have reliance on at least one of the 4-engined craft, Cathay and AA being noteable exceptions, so its hard to see within the next decade, based on current technologies, QANTAS having neither the A380 or the B747.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer GOLD

15 Sep 2015

Total posts 13

BNE-LHR direct?  A girl can dream!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Aug 2016

Total posts 14

We are looking forward to the Qantas dreamliners and announcements of seating configurations and routes.  With business class, we are hoping that if there is a partition that it is moveable to benefit both couples and families and solo flyers.  That is the major factor in the routes that we select for international business class when travelling as a family particularly as more and more airlines are moving to the pods which are not conducive to couples nor families.  While the current setup in business class between the east and west coast is ok but not ideal, having a moveable partition would keep everyone happy.  Some more routes from Brisbane would be nice too - such as Brisbane to Vancouver, Brisbane to San Francisco.

21 Aug 2015

Total posts 90

Wow.....am I supposed to be impressed.how far behind every other carrier is QF...........they must be joking...........too late to be news. A  better heading would be.After arriving late at the party QF makes empty promises about luxury..........stii playing catch up to Singapore and Cathay to name just 2!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Jul 2015

Total posts 223

Important enough for you to comment 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Aug 2014

Total posts 513

If you had said that two years ago it would have made sense. QF has been making a lot of improvements recently just have a look at the new J class and all the lounges they have in the works. 

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

Wow.....am I supposed to be impressed how ignorant you are to different airlines in different countries with different circumstances (geography/wages/and so many other factors) having different business models.?? Just to name a few! lol

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

15 Aug 2012

Total posts 175

Ah Qantas bashing, Is it an Olympic sport? I think the 787 will be a great product, and Qantas will go to the next level with this product. Keep an eye out for an A380 refurb. Hats off to AJ who everyone loves to bag out, but Qantas has transformed itself as a business, and now the hard product is doing is being transformed because the business itself has strengthened and is profitable.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

06 Feb 2014

Total posts 71

I guess that will make business class award bookings to the US even harder to get!

Qantas

13 Jun 2015

Total posts 143

If Qantas were to purchase another 15 B789s, I hope that it would replace its A333s. The thing about Qantas is that the airline is trying to renew its fleet.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 959

Shoudy I expect the 787-10 will replace the A333 on Asian routes. Same seating capacity and range but cheaper to run. This will be from 2022 or so though.

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

11 Mar 2015

Total posts 191

gee what took so long -Polish airline which is no comparison to Qf had them for 3-4 years now-obviously they wanted to run those old metals- the 747- to the ground before opening the purse-even jetstar had them for a while now so what's the reason for such a long delay?Still more than a year away so why this is news now?First I thought a misprint but no another 14 month-well good luck for those who have the patience to wait.

My suggestion, apart from SYD/ORD & MEL/DFW, is to base 2 789's in PER & operate them PER/DXB/Berlin(Brandenburg). Such a schedule would also allow Perth passengers to connect in DXB to LHR via QF1&9 as well as allowing connections from ADL & BNE from the EK/QF codeshare. Furthermore EK would provide feed DXB/Berlin on a route that traffic rights are not being granted to them as well as giving QF full uplift rights. Such a flight could coincide with the much delayed opening of the new Berlin airport which would generate valuable additional publicity.

My suggestion is based on making money for QFrather than breaking long distance records!

Peter,Sydney

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Oct 2016

Total posts 2

Not impressed with the proposed Business class seating on the new Qantas Dreamliner, not couple friendly and almost as bad as the A300-200 Business class seating. When you travel with someone who is petrified when flying, these seating arrangements make matters worse. My wife almost got off the aircraft when she saw A300 seating arrangement for our flight from Singapore to Brisbane. The other issue I had with these seats is the position in the bed configuration which is almost on the floor & awkward to get out off. We much prefer the capsule style as per the Qantas 747. If we have to travel on the Dreamliner it will be Premium Economy.


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