September debut for Jetstar

September debut for Jetstar

Jetstar will take delivery of its first Boeing 787 towards the end of September, marking the start of an extensive fleet renewal for both the low-cost carrier and its parent Qantas.

However, a date for the beginning of commercial flights remains to be set, due to the various tasks to be carried out between the plane’s handover to Jetstar and its entry into service.

Jetstar will pick up a further two 787s by year's end, and while the airline has yet to reveal its 787 launch routes, 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."

The Dreamliner’s Australian debut comes five years after Qantas originally expected to begin flying the next-gen jet.

A series of delays assigned to the aircraft’s revolutionary design, including extensive use of carbon-fibre composites instead of metal, resulted in Boeing paying Qantas $150 million in ‘opportunity cost’ compensation due to Qantas being unable to fly the fuel-efficient 787 and put its older aircraft out to pasture.

Qantas also cancelled its order for 35 Dreamliners, although the airline has options on as many as 50 Dreamliners from 2016.

While those 787s will be shared between Qantas and Jetstar, the first 14 Dreamliners winging their way into the Qantas Group are all earmarked for Jetstar, which intends to make the most of the aircraft’s improved fuel efficiencies, reduced maintenance and increased passenger comfort. 

Read: Why business travellers will love the Boeing 787

Virgin Australia also has the 787 on its shopping list, alongside the Airbus A350, to replace the airline’s Airbus A330 and Boeing 777s for transcontinental and international flights from 2017.

Earlier this year Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti told Australian Business Traveller that the choice of which of the big birds to buy will be “an end-of-year decision”. 

“We’re taking our time, there’s no need to rush into this” he said, adding that the Dreamliner’s well-documented woes “haven’t dented my views on how good I think the 787 is. I think the 787 is a wonderful airplane, just as much as I believe the A350 will be.” 

Australian Business Traveller will be visiting Boeing’s 787 factory at Everett, Washington in early June to see Jetstar’s first Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner on the final assembly line. 

For the latest information for business travellers and frequent flyers, follow @AusBT on Twitter

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.
 

17 comments

  • Joshb

    Joshb

    20 May, 2013 10:50 am

    Any idea if there'll be a new 'biz' class or will it be the same old recliners?

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  • David Flynn

    David

    20 May, 2013 12:22 pm

    Josh: we don't yet know the exact details of Jetstar's 787 seats,  but it's highly likely JQ will choose the seats from the catalogue offered by Boeing - in which several seats manufacturers have supplied a variety of seats for economy, premium economy and business which have all been approved by Boeing and can be installed while the aircraft is being assembled (a 'line fit') rather than fitted after the aircraft is done. The former process is faster and, more significant for a low-cost carrier like Jetstar, cheaper.

    That said, the catalogue boasts perhaps a dozen business class seats to choose from, and JQ could even settle for a premium economy model - so exactly what they've decided to go with remains to be seen.  It could be a recliner, but it could also be an angled lie-flat like Air Asia X's premium class.

    All I can say for sure is that as soon as Jetstar's 787 seats are revealed, you'll read about them here on AusBT! :)

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  • Charles

    SteveCF

    20 May, 2013 03:24 pm

    I would be very surprised if they went with a flat bed product as they wouldn't want to bleed off passengers from Qantas.

    Could be wrong, but if I was a betting man my money would be on enhanced recliner product of the like they have now.

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  • Joshb

    Joshb

    20 May, 2013 03:29 pm

    My thoughts exactly, Qantas has an oppurtunity to make a great low cost biz class but I reckon they'll hold back to protect their Skybed II/whatever's coming for end 2014. Something along the lines of a stripped back Virgin A330 biz is what I would expect.

    PS thanks David re reply to my initial comment

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  • Brett G

    brettg

    20 May, 2013 11:28 am

    I toured Everett in Feb this year and got to see the 787s coming through the line. There's a few cross sections on display there that you can get up to touch and feel. The composite contruction makes a lot of sense to me and seeing it in the factory made me a lot more comfortable about flying on it. It's very impressive (as it Everett in general)!

    In fact I might even think about breaking my long held "no jetstar" rule just to take a flight on one...

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  • Waynec

    Waynec

    20 May, 2013 02:41 pm

    Hopefully, JQ installs a decent seat in business class. Not expecting them to put in flat bed or anything- something similar to the PE quality seats on QF will be pretty good for day flights.

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  • JamesM

    JamesM

    20 May, 2013 03:44 pm

    I can appreciate that David doesn't want to stoke the fires of speculation by making a guess as to what business class seat the Jetstar 787 will have, but I will make a prediction that they will be 'angled lie flat'. The reasons?

    • Seat design and customer expectations have come a long way since Jetstar launched
    • Being able to buy the 787 with seats 'preinstalled' so to speak, as David mentioned, will make things cheaper, so while JQ could use this as en excuse to save money I think they will go for a superior seat
    • Don't forget that these 787-8s will eventually be handed down to Qantas when JQ gets the 787-9s, or at least that's been the plan, so they will want a business class which is still competitive several years down the track. Now as Qantas would probably want them on east-west routes they will need to be going up against whatever VA has at the time plus also what QF introduces in its A330s from late next year.

    So I think we'll see an 'angled flatbed' at the 'pointy end ' of the Jetstar 787s.

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  • Charles

    SteveCF

    20 May, 2013 04:24 pm

    The point about about the 787's being handed down to Qantas is not quite right.  If that happens they will get all new seats and paintjob to be in line with the Qantas fleet. They will not keep the Jetstar interior at all.

    The 787's will replace the A330 fleet for Jetstar, those aircraft will be refitted and given to Qantas.

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  • JamesM

    JamesM

    20 May, 2013 06:17 pm

    SCF: it's been reported many times before that the first 787s, the -8s, go to JQ, and this means their A330s get handed down to QF, but then the second batch from 2016 will be 787-9s which will be split between JQ and QF, but that QF will then get JQ's 787-8s, these will mainly be for domestic use and JQ's two-class config will let these planes enter into service with QF with a quick paintjob and a cabin refresh but I don't expect the seats to change.

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  • madge

    madge

    20 May, 2013 04:38 pm

    As far as I have read, the 789s will go directly to QF not JQ. So a common interior is not required.

    Also, I don't believe that seat expectation for JQ have increased that much. Sure D7 has angled-flat business class, but TZ has a recliner similar to JQ.

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  • Charles

    SteveCF

    20 May, 2013 04:54 pm

    Yeah I agree about the JQ expectation not being high.

    Thinking about it more I think Qantas would be crazy to let Jetstar get a lay flat seat.

    The number one thing business travelers want on a long distance flight is sleep according to a recent survey. Give a product that ticks that box to Jetstar and you'll see Qantas group lose revenue towards a cheaper Jetstar product. That would be a silly move.

    Be intersting to see what they come up with.

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  • JamesM

    JamesM

    20 May, 2013 06:18 pm

    Madge, no the 787-9s will be for "the Qantas Group" and be shared between QF and JQ, that's been reported many many times. Those will have different seating and configs, JQ will be two class and QF will probably be three-class with a Premium Economy, but QF will get the original JQ 787-8s down the track.

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  • Will

    Will

    20 May, 2013 05:36 pm

    Jetstar announced that they're going to fly Perth to Lombok 4x weekly would they use the b787 or the a320

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  • JamesM

    JamesM

    20 May, 2013 06:14 pm

    I don't see that Lombok would be a very popular route, I think this will be A320 for some time. Surprised to hear Jetstar CEO say Honolulu, Phuket and Tokyo would be among first routes, surely Melbourne-Singapore would be a big drawcard for them!

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  • Will

    Will

    20 May, 2013 06:25 pm

    Your right and Lombok is right next to Bali. If you want to go to Lombok you could take a boat from Bali 

     

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  • Will

    Will

    20 May, 2013 09:46 pm

    Hopefully jetstar 787 economy seats will have IFE for every seat

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  • johnaboxall

    johnaboxall

    23 May, 2013 12:02 pm

    I wouldn't be getting too excited about it having IFE or flat seats in Starclass - remember folks, it's Jetstar. They want the 787s for increased fuel efficiency to help maintain their low cost base and get the A330s back to QF mainline. 

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24 Jul, 2019 07:14 pm

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