China Southern has taken delivery of its first Boeing 787, with the Dreamliner's commercial debut planned for June 6th on a daily service between Guangzhou and Beijing (CZ3103/CZ3100) and the possibility of Australian flights before the year is out.
While the first 787 flights will take place within China, China Southern Executive Vice President Mr Chen Gang told Australian Business Traveller last month, but services from Guangzhou to Australia and Europe would follow.
"According to our initial plan, we will be using the 787 Dreamliners on the Canton Routes, for example European routes and also our routes to Australasia" Gang said.
Chen's use of 'Australasia' rather than just 'Australia' indicates that Auckland may be in line for a Boeing 787, along with its key Australian ports of Sydney and Melbourne (CZ also flies to Brisbane and Perth).
China Southern's 787 rollout pattern follows the same as adopted for the Airbus A380, with domestic flights coming ahead of international services.
If the airline's plans pan out, Australia could see four carriers all flying the Boeing 787 Dreamliner by year's end.
Qatar remains in poll position, having previously cancelled the launch of the Perth-Doha Boeing 787 service just two weeks before its scheduled February 1st start when the Gulf carrier joined other airlines around the world in grounding the 787 after a series of critical overheating problems with the lithium-ion battery system.
Qatar is expected to soon announce a new start date for the daily Perth-Doha 787 route, which will let passengers fly Boeing’s next-gen jetliner all the way through to London.
Qantas partner Japan Airlines (JAL) will also begin a Boeing 787 service between Sydney and Tokyo from December 1st as part of the airline's expansion of its Dreamliner flights.
Jetstar has yet to commit to its Boeing 787 routes once its first Dreamliner arrives towards the end of September.
While Jetstar Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka says the Dreamliners "will operate to destinations like Honolulu, Phuket and Tokyo which are currently serviced by our A330 aircraft", although many travellers hope that the Melbourne-Singapore route will be first cab off the rank.
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