Here's what we know about the Qantas Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Here's what we know about the Qantas Boeing 787 Dreamliner

It's less than a year until Qantas is handed the keys to its first Boeing 787, and there's plenty of interest in the Dreamliner and what it means for the Flying Kangaroo.  We've pulled together the answers to some of the most-asked questions...

When we will see the first Qantas Boeing 787?

Qantas expects to take delivery of its first Boeing 787-9 in October 2017 and will fly the advanced jet from Boeing’s Dreamliner factory north of Seattle back to Sydney for what’s sure to be a major media event bursting with razzle-dazzle.

Three more red-tailed Dreamliners from this initial order of eight jets will follow to mid-2018, with four more joining the fleet by mid-2019.

Read more: Qantas to fly first Boeing 787 in October 2017

Where will the Qantas Boeing 787s fly?

Qantas will reveal the first Boeing 787 routes towards the end of 2016, when bookings open for that flight. This will be on an existing international route, and one that's currently served by a Boeing 747 aircraft.

Read more: Qantas Boeing 787 Dreamliner flights on sale by year's end

The jet is also likely to make some 'surprise and delight' appearances on Qantas' domestic network before taking wing on its international route.

Such 'proving runs' have been standard procedure for all airlines introducing the Boeing 787 (and its rival, the Airbus A350) to their fleet.

These flights help the cabin and ground crews become more familiar with the new jets in day-to-day operation, as well as being a valuable public relations exercise for the airline (especially in this era of social media).

The first quarter of 2017 will see Qantas reveal the first of several new international Dreamliner destinations, potentially based on the additional three Boeing 787s due for delivery by mid-2018.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has talked up a series of long-range non-stop flights such as Melbourne-Dallas, Sydney-Chicago and even Perth-London.

Read more: Where will Qantas fly its new Dreamliners?

How many Boeing 787s does Qantas have on order?

Qantas still has a total of 45 Dreamliners on the books, stretching back to a massive order the airline placed for the next-generation jet in 2005 (when Qantas expected its first 787 to arrive in July 2009).

15 of the Boeing 787 orders are classified as ‘options’ and come with a guaranteed delivery slot should Qantas decide to buy them.

30 more Dreamliners are earmarked as ‘purchase rights’ but don’t have a fixed delivery timeframe.

In both cases Qantas has locked in a very low purchase price for the Boeing 787s stemming from its initial 2005 order rather than the current $US265 million (A$346m) list price – although airlines rarely ever pay the sticker prices, and discounts can be as deep as 40%.

How are these different to the Boeing 787s which Jetstar flies?

Jetstar opted for the original 787-8 model, which was the first to roll off Boeing’s assembly line.

The 787-8 is slightly smaller than Qantas’ 787-9 variant, carrying fewer passengers and flying a reduced range. 

What will be the configuration of Qantas’ Boeing 787s?

The Qantas Dreamliners will be fitted with business class, premium economy and economy seating, totalling 236 seats from tip to tail as split below:

It's likely that inflight Internet will also be available on Qantas' Boeing 787s, but there are no plans for first class, which will remain exclusive to the flagship Airbus A380 superjumbos.

Also read: Qantas reveals Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner seating, configuration

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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.
 

37 comments

  • Andy H

    Andy H

    18 Aug, 2016 10:25 am

    My money is on MEL-DFW for the first new route! AJ has hinted the route several times, so I hope its confirmed by years end. 

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  • Christopher Campbell

    Chris2304

    18 Aug, 2016 11:56 am

    they will need to additional 787s beyond the 8 to start any new routes

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  • StudiodeKadent

    StudiodeKadent

    18 Aug, 2016 02:20 pm

    I honestly wonder if the 787-9 can actually do that route. The distance between MEL and DFW is around 14500km. 

    The 787-9 has a 14100km range at 290 passengers. The Dreamliner capacity will be "around 250" although that internally sighted plan indicates 235, but let's presume 250. This will surely extend the range, perhaps enough to reach DFW, but let us also remember the A380 is meant to have around 15200km range and on the DFW - SYD route it has its passenger capacity restricted by 100 seats (also, let's remember QF's A380s aren't that high capacity relative to other airlines' A380s).

    Sure, the 787-9 is much smaller and probably a lot less susceptible to wind resistance on the flight back, but if a jet built to fly a 15200km range can only carry 384 passengers on a return trip of 13800km (the DFW-SYD distance), surely there's reason to be skeptical about a shorter-range jet's capabilities on an even longer route.

    I could see the flight working, however, if the jet flew to Brisbane first (13370km) and then on to Melbourne. This would also give QF the ability to offer three different Australian capital cities as destinations from DFW with direct or "you can stay aboard the same plane" service, as well as various connection opportunities via BNE domestic too.

    That said, MEL - DFW seems more like a 777-8 route to me, and it would certainly have some demand for First Class given the route length. So if QF decide to go with 777X's and give them First cabins, I'd believe they would put 777-8s Dallas routes (both ex-SYD and ex-MEL given they'd be able to comfortably reach DFW without any payload restrictions). 787-9s seem more suited to BNE- DFW.

     

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  • GregXL

    GregXL

    18 Aug, 2016 03:43 pm

    I am also sceptical about the range capabilty of the 787-9 and the routes that are being discussed.  MEL-DFW is significantly shorter than SYD-ORD.  LHR-PER is similar (to MEL-DFW), but on that I agree with some other comments that it is PR exercise.

    I don't think the lower wind resistance is significant unless you plan to glide into MEL.  Head winds just reduce the ground speed,  increasing the effective route distance similarly for all aircraft.

    Also note that United is currently flying the longest 797-9 route SFO-SIN at 13,650 km euipped with 250 seats.  I have seen comment that they are also running at reduced load.

    My guess is BNE-DFW with BNE-LAX changing from 747 to 787. 

     

     

     

     

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  • riley

    riley

    18 Aug, 2016 11:01 am

    I believe the mooted Perth to London is both PR and a way of (kind of) asserting some power in the EK marriage as they would have an agreement to direct all stops en route to Europe in Dubai, but direct flights are obviously exempt from this agreement. It's already had a good run in the junk press.

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  • patrickk

    patrickk

    18 Aug, 2016 11:40 am

    The Perth London flight is also a way of pressuring the Perth airport to bring forward the build of the Qantas domestic peir at the international terminal. They may do an interim arrangement of a few gates for those flights connecting from Canberra and Adelaide,  but QF want to be in the same space sooner rather than later. 

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  • ajstubbs

    ajstubbs

    18 Aug, 2016 03:52 pm

    If you assume PER -> LHR is in the vicinity of 18 - 19 hours, I struggle to see a market for it beyond Perth and Adelaide residents. QR are learing the hard way that there may not be enough of a market to sustain Its hard to imagine east coast flyers, beyond novelty value, opting for a 4hr+ flight to Perth, stopover then 19 hour flight - it's not shorter than the current options and involves a killer segment. There's plus points to transiting within AU but they're almost cancelled out by the current lounge in PER versus the Middle East or Asia.

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  • ajstubbs

    ajstubbs

    18 Aug, 2016 03:52 pm

    *to sustain service.

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  • Ryan Hogan

    justcallmeryan

    18 Aug, 2016 08:23 pm

    Interesting perspective. I live in SYD and would absolutely consider a transit through PER which went direct on to Europe (LHR or otherwise). I like the idea of a domestic transfer as opposed to international and once you're on a long flight you may as well stay on it!

    Assuming the timings worked out, the terminals and lounges were good (current QF PER domestic to intl sucks) and the aircraft were good, I'd consider.

    It's a lot of assumptions, but none the less...

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  • patrickk

    patrickk

    19 Aug, 2016 09:50 am

    ajstub note there are quite few EK flights from Perth that transit Dubai not to mention Adelaide and Canberra (whose only other one stop choice is now SQ). Note a lot of us are adverse to too many stops and transfers. I am sure with those three markets there will be enough for 250 seat per day. Note the success of DFW (which I prefer) says semething about long sectors. I prefer a long and short sector rather than two long ones anyday.

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  • Therealtimsmith

    Therealtimsmith

    22 Aug, 2016 09:04 am

    This would also have the additional benefit of providing an option that appeals to fliers dissatisfied with Dubai as a stopover - without requiring a large number of flights for Qantas to put onto a whole new network of flights (to a stopover and then onto the final destination). The domestic feeder network to Perth is already set up, so in terms of the number of aircraft needed to provide a new one stop flight to London from a bunch of Australian destinations its hard to beat!

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  • Angus  Coventry

    Covo95

    18 Aug, 2016 11:47 am

    how could qantas replace 5 747's when you fly the 787 on routes the 747 doesnt do? 

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  • Christopher Campbell

    Chris2304

    18 Aug, 2016 11:51 am

    8 B787s will replace 5 b747s plus some extra frequencies on selected routes. More 787s will need to be ordered to start any new routes. 

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  • patrickk

    patrickk

    18 Aug, 2016 12:03 pm

    Angus the replacement of the five 747s has been deferred. I think only two have been definately slated to go in the near future. The economics of a D check may now add up, with low fuel prices.

    Christopher I think the new routes will come first as flagship routes (Chicago and Dallas, maybe even London)) then the 747s will be replaced later in the order period. I expect there wll be four 787s per year for a few years with the first eight (to possibly 12) with a long range layout.

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  • Christopher Campbell

    Chris2304

    18 Aug, 2016 12:07 pm

    Low fuel prices are slated end from late next year though. 

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  • Christopher Campbell

    Chris2304

    20 Aug, 2016 10:37 am

    Hey if you look at the general concesus oil price from late 2017. This is fact, not one I just made up. So why do some feel they want to have a negative reaction against my comment when it is simply the facts. It is bound to rise to its long term average at some point and the sooner Qantas retire the older 5 747s the better. Qantas has done a marvellous job compared to other airlines when it comes to capitalising on the benefits of the lower fuel price. 

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  • Christopher Campbell

    Chris2304

    18 Aug, 2016 12:10 pm

    Where have you heard only to 2 will be retired?

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  • Angus  Coventry

    Covo95

    18 Aug, 2016 01:02 pm

    Qantas will need to buy more than the 8 dreamliners it has already ordered. 

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  • Christopher Campbell

    Chris2304

    18 Aug, 2016 01:09 pm

    18-20 787-9s would allow for a decent amount of growth and convert some to B777Xs and B787-10s. 

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  • Mal

    Mal

    18 Aug, 2016 12:36 pm

    What a lot of people are overlooking is that Qantas can't start new long-distance routes to the US or UK until it has at least three 787s as that's how many aircraft those routes require, which means until the middle of 2017 at the earliest. This is why the very first 787 routes will probably be to Asia where you can have one plane doing daily flights, up and back in the same 24 hour period like to Singapore or Hong Kong or Tokyo.

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  • aklrunway

    aklrunway

    18 Aug, 2016 12:42 pm

    US only requires 2 aircraft if the route isn't daily.

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  • Mal

    Mal

    18 Aug, 2016 12:46 pm

    That is true, they could do this, but a flight which runs every two days isn't very convenient for travellers. But I suppose if it was a 'monopoly route' like Sydney to Chicago or Melbourne to Dallas without any daily competition form another airline that could work for Qantas. I just think Qantas will want to really get the most from the 787s and so will put them onto high frequency daily routes.

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  • Himeno

    Himeno

    18 Aug, 2016 07:41 pm

    Daily flights to North/South America and Africa require 2 aircraft per route. Daily flights to Europe generally require 3 depending on ground time at the out station and if aircraft rotate onto another route (eg, current LHR timetable requires 5 aircraft for both SYD and MEL flights).

    All the QF flights into Asia, other then HND use 1 aircraft for daily. The only reason HND uses 2 is due to the aircraft sitting in Tokyo all day.

    The 6 744ERs arrived from late 2002. They are likely to stay around until at least 2022.

    OEB and OJM arrived in 1991 and 1993. These are not refitted. These will be replaced as the 787s arrive.

    OJS, OJT and OJU arrived in late 1999/early 2000. These are refitted. These *might* be replaced, but in all likelyhood would still be flying for another 3-5 years.

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  • Iain Smale

    ismale

    18 Aug, 2016 12:48 pm

    I'd love to see something like SYD-YVR-LHR-PER-SYD running both directions year round. Would make a nice RTW option, one stop from AU to UK or Canada and a daily domestic between Sydney and Perth.

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  • Arcanum

    Arcanum

    20 Aug, 2016 07:21 am

    That would probably require fifth freedom rights on YVR-LHR.  The Canadian government doesn't like helping out foreign carriers at the best of times, and I'm sure BA and AC would fight it pretty strongly.

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  • Ryan Hogan

    justcallmeryan

    20 Aug, 2016 11:15 am

    Correct - AC has such a stronghold on the Canadian government so very unlikely it would happen.

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  • David Flynn

    David

    18 Aug, 2016 12:50 pm

    On the issue of Boeing 747 replacements: earlier this year we revealed that "high demand and lower fuel prices will see Qantas retain and refresh two of its Boeing 747s instead of retiring them by mid-2017 to make way for the Boeing 787." Read more...

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  • ajstubbs

    ajstubbs

    18 Aug, 2016 12:52 pm

    So for a short period of time QF might compete with EK on Trans-Tasman flights! Not to knock QF, they're always my airline of choice, but something will have to be done about J on the 737 attempting to compete with the J on the A380.

    Very keen on the route announcements. I'd imagine Asia will get the first look in - SIN or HK would be my guess. Given Syd already has a seasonal A380 service to HK, maybe MEL is a possible home base if they start with that route.

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  • StudiodeKadent

    StudiodeKadent

    18 Aug, 2016 02:34 pm

    I doubt Hong Kong will be considered for 787-9s, at least right now. QF is slot-restricted at HKIA, so the only way they can expand capacity is to use larger jets. The 787-9s, at least the early ones (I am guessing they'll use a regional configuration for Asia) will have lower capacities than even their A330-200s.

    This problem may be alleviated in time when HKIA builds a new runway (several years away), but until then I can imagine QF will use A330s on that route, with the 747s and A380 as upgauges-where-necessary. Only when the A330s start being replaced with Dreamliners (which appears to be the long-term plan) will we start seeing regular Dreamliner service to HK.

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  • ajstubbs

    ajstubbs

    18 Aug, 2016 04:01 pm

    Ahh I hadn't considered slot-allocation! Fair point. SIN may well be a possibility in the future - most Bus. travellers I know have QF or SQ as their top preference, depending on alliance loyalty so as a potential point of difference and method of competition if SQ keep the A380 and A350 coming to SYD and MEL, QF might opt for the 787 on some flights. They can't use it for JNB. Jumbos are used to Tokyo Haneda on some flights so could be possibilities there where the F market need is less than to China and the Middle East.

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  • Packetman21

    Packetman21

    18 Aug, 2016 01:54 pm

    They just need to up the order to 12-20, then they can retire the 747s and add more routes like SYD-Chicago and PER-LHR.

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  • Richard Foreman

    ptcruiser

    19 Aug, 2016 02:07 pm

    I don't mean to be a killjoy but man I am so over waiting for this game changing Qantas 787 ! Speculation has literally gone on for so many years I have a feeling we are going to be very very dissapointed when 1 - yes only 1 of them finally takes to the skies in well over another years time.

    Two things have drawn me to this exasperation recently - the first being Delta's latest announcement of their new A350's with what looks to be a fantastic new Business Class suite ( and also new Premium Economy ). These will debut EARLIER than the Qantas 787 and eventually now muted to fly the SYD - LAX route and yet they have already managed to wet our appetite with their new cabins - something that Qantas have failed to do - which leads me to believe Qantas' new 787 is so absolutely amazing they can't release details or it just really isn't that special and they are having to do catch up. Either way it will be many years before a proper fleet of these are flying around making a difference to my Qantas travel experience.

    The second is my most recent trip on a Jetstar 787 in their Business Class ( aka Premuim economy ) which was truly, and I mean truly unremarkable except for the large windows.This plane felt small, not at all "wide bodied" and it was also - even at the front - surprisingly noisy. On boarding I sat in an economy seat to try it out and boy - that was not something I would like to fly long - long haul in even with extra legroom - the seat width - the same as Qantas' new 787's was very tight - your arms and shoulders immediately hang over the armrests and back into the seat next to you - not pleasant.

    So basically my point is lets enjoy what we have at the moment with the A380 and A330's and enjoy other airlines' new A350's because when the Qantas 787 does finally start flying we may well find ourselves trying to avoid it !  :-) 

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  • parishiltons

    parishiltons

    19 Aug, 2016 05:38 pm

    But will they turn on the humidifiers?

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  • zoomzoom

    zoomzoom

    20 Aug, 2016 02:51 pm

    well, 5 years too l;ate!

    What engines will they have?

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  • eminere

    eminere

    21 Aug, 2016 04:11 pm

    I'm hoping it'll be the GEnx.

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  • SuperSonic

    Shoudy Chen

    22 Aug, 2016 10:20 pm

    Qantas B787-9s will use GEnx engines that power superior performance and low maintenance costs.
    http://www.qantas.com/travel/airlines/aircraft-boeing-787/global/en

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  • petera

    petera

    12 Feb, 2018 07:58 pm

    has anyone knowledge on dreamliner exit seats are they value for money, any problems with them
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23 Jul, 2019 11:15 am

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