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Qantas mulls Boeing 787s for international flights from Canberra

By David Flynn     Filed under: qantas, Boeing 787, alan joyce, Canberra Airport

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says he is considering introducing Boeing 787s for international flights from Canberra Airport from 2016.

In a Q&A session following a speech to the National Press Club, Joyce flagged Canberra as a potential long-haul destination, with Boeing's next-gen jetliner as a good fit for the airport and the route.

Although Canberra Airport is being upgraded to handle international flights from 2013, Qantas-badged Boeing 787s wouldn't grace the runways until sometime after 2016, when the airline can take delivery of its first Dreamliners under an 'option to purchase' plan.

Earlier this year Qantas cancelled its 'firm order' for 35 Boeing 787 Dreamliners an an effort to rein in costs, trading down to options and purchase rights on 50 of the Boeing jets "available for delivery from 2016."

(Deliveries of the first 15 Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners for Jetstar will continue on schedule, with the first of the next-gen jets due to arrive in the second half of 2013.)

The proviso, of course, is for Qantas to return to profitability – a situation which Joyce believes the Qantas-Emirates alliance will accelerate.

"There is no doubt this new partnership (with Emirates) is a stepÔÇÉchange for us in terms of the viability of Qantas International, and therefore Qantas itself."

Should the Red Roo find itself back in Joyce's stated 2015 timeframe the airline would start pencilling in 787 routes, with Canberra on the shortlist, Joyce indicated, with the 787-9 being a "right fit" aircraft.

“I have no doubt we will be back here looking at what Qantas long haul can do in Canberra” he said.

At the same time, Joyce once again came out for a second Sydney airport being built at Badgery's Creek rather than using Canberra as a de facto hub.

Read: Canberra Airport's $11bn high-speed rail plan

Keep up to date with the latest news for Australian business travellers and frequent flyers: tune into @AusBT on Twitter.


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 9/10/12 by Peter

The only long-haul international route I can see Qantas would fly from CBR is HBA-CBR-SIN, CBR-ADL-SIN... unless Joyce is referring to Trans-Tasman as "long-haul."

2 on 9/10/12 by hutch

CBR - SIN or CBR - HKG would be great... with a QF codeshared CBR - DXB EK flight :-)

How about they bring in a 'Capital Link' service - CBR - LAX and then through to Washington DC. Love to see it, but I think I'll see a flying pig before I see a flying 'long-haul pacific' roo from CBR.

3 on 9/10/12 by tronixstuff

One could allege that this is just AJ telling fairty tales to keep the idea of this mythical "reborn" QF in peoples' minds so they will support them in the short to medium-term future. Whether you agree or not, the international red roo is slowly devolving. 

4 on 10/10/12 by Rufus

What about a 737-900ER doing it today?  Why wait?

5 on 11/10/12 by Daniell

How ironic that Joyce in a recent speech cried out for the need for Australian companies to act quickly and innovate, yet he delays the introduction of the 787 until 2016.

I enjoy flying Qantas, but this bloke is a joke. So out of his depth and negative for the brand. Leave and appoint someone who has vision and positivity. 

1 on 11/10/12 by Des

I agree with Daniell, Joyce has no idea. He is costing the company millions of dollars because he is reactive rather than proactive. He lacks any innovation and the deal with Emirates sees Qanats getting the short end of the straw. Emirates must be laughing all the way to the bank and I bet they had the upper hand when it came to signing the deal.

6 on 11/10/12 by airtraveladdict

if they could do a fast train link between Canberra and Sydney, then canberra can become a second airport for sydney.


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