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Jetstar's first Boeing 787 Dreamliner makes its debut

By David Flynn     Filed under: qantas, Jetstar, Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Australia's first Boeing 787 Dreamliner emerged from the paintshop in Seattle this weekend, all decked out in Jetstar's silver-and-orange livery ahead of a late September delivery to Qantas' low-cost offshoot.

Boeing shot off a roll of glossy official photos...

... while Seattle photographer Moonm snapped and shared few more on his Flickrstream.

It's the first of three Boeing 787-8s due this year for Jetstar out of a total order of 14, which will replace Jetstar's current international Airbus A330s.

“All eleven of our Airbus A330s will transition to Qantas, we will be replacing them one for one with the 787, and by 2015 we will have a purely 787 longhaul fleet" Mark Dal Pra, who leads Jetstar’s 787 program, told Australian Business Traveller in Seattle earlier this year.

These will be followed by up to 50 of the 787-8 and larger 787-9s to be shared in an as-yet-undecided ratio between Qantas and Jetstar from 2016.

Read: Qantas, Jetstar and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner – what you need to know

Domestic Jetstar 787 flights from November

Although Jetstar's first Boeing 787 will touch down on Aussie soil in late September, it will need to receive flight approval from Australia's air safety regulator before carrying paid passengers.

Jetstar's publicity plan involves rostering the Boeing 787 onto selected domestic routes within Australia before moving onto full international services in December.

Popular routes from Sydney, Melbourne and Perth to the Gold Coast and Cairns are on the cards, although Jetstar has yet to make a final call on the 787's local and international launch routes.

The move will provide a “great window of opportunity for thousands of domestic travellers to experience the 787” says Dal Pra, and the 787‘s domestic services will be extensively marketed to the public.

Read: Jetstar to begin local Boeing 787 flights in November

Inside Jetstar's Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Jetstar’s Boeing 787 fleet will pack 335 travellers from tip to tail, with 21 business class seats and 314 in economy.

The Recaro business class seats will be arranged in a 2-3-2 configuration, with the slimline Pinnacle economy seats ranked in a 3-3-3 layout.

The seat pitch will be comparable to Jetstar’s current A330 fleet – around 38 inches in business class and 31 inches in economy – says Jetstar’s Dal Pra.

Jetstar has also opted to continue using a recliner in business class rather than an angled lie-flat seat.

“When you’re only flying five to ten hours, the amount the customers need to pay for a lie-flat seat, for the space it takes up, just doesn’t work out” Dal Pra told Australian Business Traveller.

Dal Pra says the airline has slightly reduced the number of business class seats to boost the size of the economy cabin, compared to its first plans.

Every seat will be equipped with a touchscreen video panel linked to a central Panasonic eX2 inflight entertainment system providing video on demand along with games and seat-to-seat chat.

Business class passengers will get a 10.6 inch display, with 9 inches in economy, and the system will allow ‘gate to gate’ use rather than having to switch off the screen during take-off and landing.

Every seat will have a USB socket for charging smartphones and tablets, with an AC power supply in each business class seat and shared between every two seats in economy.

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we’re @AusBT


About David Flynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


Have something to say? Post a comment now!

1 on 10/8/13 by Michael

Being someone who doesn't fly overseas on any 787 operators, i'm definitely going out of my way to be on the inaugural flight for this plane. 

Can't wait to see what the 787 is really like.

2 on 11/8/13 by pika

Have they found the cause of the spate of Dreamliner fires? Until then, it's a bit hard for me to think about what cabin comforts the 787 might have.

1 on 11/8/13 by Charles

The cause of the Ethiopean fire was narrowed down to a Honeywell component found on many different types of aircraft. The battery issue is interesting, it appears they still haven't found the exact cause as yet, but have completely changed the Lithium battery design with S/S compartments for the cells, better ventilation and other enhancements. They have over engineered this part of the aircraft to avoid this issue happening again, and so far been successful as there hasn't been an issue.

Petsonally, I would be more than happy to fly the aircraft at anytime.

1 on 11/8/13 by pika

I don't believe the Honeywell ELT has yet been found as a definitive cause of the Heathrow 787 fire. At best, the fire occurred in the vicinity of the ELT.

That particular incident also demonstated that the big steel box won't necessarily stop the spate of Dreamliner fires.

There may be an unknown cause.

3 on 11/8/13 by Mdamore

I also am looking very much forward to a flight on this aircraft. Given the recent scrutiny it has faced, I believe and hope Boeing is monitoring every movement to ensure issues that come up continue to be minor and get resolved as quickly as possible.  I just hope the opportunity comes sooner than later and with no additional delays. 

4 on 11/8/13 by Al

I think that the degree of scrutiny the 787 is getting from Boeing, airlines and air safety regulators will eventually see the 787 become one of the world's safest modern jets. I'll certainly be happy to fly in the JQ one because I don't believe Qanta would risk any dramas which could damage the Jetstar brand, and by extension the Qantas/Alan joyce 'brand'.

1 on 11/8/13 by tronixstuff


As much as I don't like JQ, I look forward to a domestic segment just to experience the 787. 

2 on 11/8/13 by pika

AI said: "I don't believe Qanta would risk any dramas which could damage the Jetstar brand".

Funny, I thought that maybe Qantas tossed the Dreamliners to Jetstar, like a hot potato, so it wouldn't damage its main brand.

Anyway, I find it interested to hear that so many people don't share my view, and will be rushing to ride on the Dreamliner.

1 on 11/8/13 by Al

Pika, I don't think that's true at all. As much as I wish Qantas was getting the 787, at least a few of them instead of all of the first lot going to Jetstar, the reasons are simply to do with economics.

JQ international is in profit, while QF international is not. Fuel efficiency is a bigger part of JQ's pricing equation than QF, so a more fuel-efficient plane can help lower prices or increase revenue (or do a bit of both) which makes JQ even more competitive in the market. JQ 787s are used to replace its A330s which then are handed down to Qantas so QF can in turn retire some of its older fuel-guzzling planes.

Put all that together and while you might not agree with JQ getting 787s ahead of Qantas is simply makes sense from a holistic and economics perspective.

1 on 13/8/13 by PLATY

Illogical, Al. If QF were serious about QFi returing to profit the 787s would go to QF before JQ since QF needs the fillup.

Joyce is all about JQ. It clouds his judgement. Not surprising when his expertise is LCC...

1 on 13/8/13 by Mal

I think I side with Al on this PLATY. I see your point that QFi needs the helping hand and there is a lot of sense in investing your way out of a situation. But at $200 million per 787 that would be a lot of investing that would immediately send QFi further into the red.

QFi is already on schedule to return to profit in 2016 according to Qantas so while the 787 woud bring benefits to the fleet from end of 2013 it would come nowhere near close to recouping the high capital outlay you would want for a good number of 787 services. Let's say you settled for just four 787s for key routes, that would still be $800 million.

I know a lot of peope would like love for Qantas to have 787s, I am among them although more for domestic routes such as east-west and trans-Tasman as well. But the 'Alan Yoyce' plan as explained by Al makes solid economic sense with that 'hand me down' approach to help QF boost competitiveness over its current fleet.

1 on 14/8/13 by PLATY

No doubt the capital costs of the aircraft are ameliorated through lease or some other finance deal (?) and the ledger will have to account for the metal whether an A330 or a B787.

If the 787s improve JQ cost structure over the 330s then why wouldn't the same be true of QF.

Makes no sense to this wee cranium...

5 on 11/8/13 by StuParr

The aircraft looks great. I can't wait to hitch a ride on her. I hope VA decides on these for their future orders as well.

6 on 14/8/13 by PLATY

Seems a shame JQ have kept with the current "business" class style of product - even Air NZ Premium economy has a greater seat pitch...


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