Qantas paves the way for Boeing 787 flights to Johannesburg, Santiago

Qantas paves the way for Boeing 787 flights to Johannesburg, Santiago

With plans to retire its last Boeing 747 aircraft by the end of 2020, Qantas is scoping out the potential replacement for its jumbos on transoceanic flights from Sydney to Santiago and Johannesburg.

Traditionally requiring a larger four-engined aircraft like the Boeing 747, Qantas is now in a position to consider smaller jets like the Boeing 787, or its upcoming Project Sunrise planes, to take over these 12-14 hour flights.

Speaking with Australian Business Traveller on the sidelines of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Annual General Meeting in Seoul, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce confirms that the “ETOPS requirements that these aircraft are certified to will allow us to do both routes.”

ETOPS refers to the restrictions placed on twin-engined aircraft by aviation regulators, which limit how far commercial flights can venture from a safe landing point on the ground: a cap that's particularly relevant on long over-water flights, and which varies from one aircraft type to the next.

That said, Qantas' Boeing 787s come with 128 fewer seats on board compared to the airline's Boeing 747s, which Joyce views as an opportunity to increase the regularity of its Southern Hemisphere flights.

“It’s a smaller aircraft, the Boeing 787, so it allows you to build up the frequency on those routes. At the moment, we don’t have daily flights all the time on these routes… so for us, South Africa and South America isn’t going to be a problem.”

South Africa and South America are both potential destinations for the globe-striding Project Sunrise jets, although they haven't received the fanfare of promised non-stop flights to London or New York.

Qantas expects to place a multibillion-dollar order for its Project Sunrise fleet before the year is out, with Airbus and Boeing each due to submit a "best and final offer" for ultra-long range versions of their respective A350 and 777X jets.

The Project Sunrise aircraft will feature four cabins with all-new first class, business class, premium economy and economy seating plus a space dedicated to "exercise, health and wellbeing", and take wing in 2022-2023.

Qantas will also take delivery of six new Boeing 787 jets from late this year through to the end of 2020, boosting the size of the Dreamliner fleet to 14 and enabling retirement of the Boeing 747s, although some jumbo jet routes such as Sydney-Tokyo may be taken over by an Airbus A380.

Chris Chamberlin attended the IATA AGM in Seoul as a guest of IATA.

Chris Chamberlin
Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

40 comments

  • patrickk

    patrickk

    11 Jun, 2019 06:23 am

    They may have to keep the 747s right up to the end of 2020 to enable A380 refurbishment. At the rate they are going with the first one (2+ months) and another before Xmas, then after the summer peak they will need to do two A380s at the same time to get the last 10 done by the end of the year.
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    turbojezz

  • elchriss0

    elchriss0

    12 Jun, 2019 12:24 pm

    They should retire their last 747 on the exact day of the 50th anniversary from when they received their very first 747. That would make it up to mid 2021
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  • Dale

    hakkinen5

    11 Jun, 2019 07:57 am

    Does CASA yet allow Australian airlines to fly these ETOPS routes without significant extra miles? Sure the aircraft is certified to do these routes but I thought CASA was still to increase ETOPS minutes for Australian airlines?
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  • Dave

    Grannular

    11 Jun, 2019 08:31 am

    I am a bit confused by this article. My understanding is that CASA hasn't certified any planes beyond ETOPS 180. This article doesn't provide any information to indicate that is changing.

    Yes the 787 can fly the routes. But until CASA allows ETOPS beyond 180, it doesn't matter.
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  • Boof

    Boof

    11 Jun, 2019 08:55 am

    CASA updated the guidelines and standards in line with the changes from ETOPS to EDTO. Do a quick search for CASA CAAP 82-1(1) and it has all the new updates as of 2015.

    In line with the above, and the article, QF will have no trouble with these routes using twins.
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  • SuperSonic

    Shoudy Chen

    11 Jun, 2019 12:41 pm

    The Sydney-Johannesburg flights should have a stopover at Perth due to ETOPS Restrictions.
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  • maabbot

    maabbot

    11 Jun, 2019 02:03 pm

    They should have a stop over full stop. It makes sense for Perth to be Qantas' hub for Africa, Sydney for South America.
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  • Boof

    Boof

    11 Jun, 2019 02:08 pm

    No they shouldn’t at all. That is completely incorrect. With EDTO180 they could fly the route non-stop but it would be suboptimal, with EDTO330 they can fly it as they do today with the 747 (which also operates under the same rules... the number of engines is irrelevant these days).
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  • GregXL

    GregXL

    11 Jun, 2019 03:06 pm

    Perth-Johannesburg could be used to provide the extra seats over a daily 787 out of SYD. Perhaps an A330 as was previously consided. QF and Perth would have to settle the fees dispute and then I expect the terminal issue would go away quietly.

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  • markpk

    markpk

    11 Jun, 2019 05:43 pm

    Can't see the terminal/fees dispute being settled anytime soon without State and Federal Government intervention
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  • Jason Bird

    Speedbird

    12 Jun, 2019 03:57 am

    Agreed.. Perth Airport seems to be incredulously stubborn and pig headed about this fees and terminal issues with Qantas.. Their lost (and Perth’s for that matter)..
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    Strange

  • PaulST

    PaulST

    12 Jun, 2019 11:03 am

    Exactly! PER should be rolling out the red carpet for QF because once Project Sunrise arrives, we'll have no reason to visit PER. This was their big opportunity to make themselves a major transit hub for QF flights onto multiple European destinations.
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  • Traveller14

    Traveller14

    14 Jun, 2019 02:45 pm

    I am neutral on this as an Eastern Stater but surely when one business (Qantas) doesn't pay its bills to another (Perth Airport) wouldn't the latter usually want to restrict services, not supply it or take other measures such as legal action?
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  • hutch

    hutch

    11 Jun, 2019 05:58 pm

    If the 787s are used, to make up capacity, perhaps this is an opportunity to look at flights to Cape Town? Lima is another LATAM hub and monopoly potential QF route.
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  • alexlips99

    alexlips99

    11 Jun, 2019 08:16 pm

    QF flying the non-stop Sydney to Cape Town route with it's new Project Sunrise fleet would make up for any capacity losses to Africa with the retirement of the B747s. Along with daily departures on Sydney to Jo-berg & the hopeful launch of Perth to Jo-Berg, there's plenty of room to increase capacity.

    A good QF line up to Africa would be:
    - Daily SYD - JNB flights on B787
    - 2-4 weekly SYD - CPT flights on B777X or A350
    - 3-5 weekly PER to JNB flights on A330 or B787
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  • bsb

    bsb

    12 Jun, 2019 08:08 am

    Nice thought but past actions are the best predictors of future behav
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  • VC10

    VC10

    15 Jun, 2019 11:51 pm

    Do QF have mody6th freedom rights in South Africa ? Obviously asking if,say,SYD-CPT-JNB is an option?
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  • Tom Wilson

    tommygun

    12 Jun, 2019 10:35 am

    My guess: daily SYD-JNB 789, reduced capacity = great yield, forget SYD-CPT.
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  • Nick  Sydney 348

    Nick Sydney 2

    12 Jun, 2019 10:43 am

    Direct to Cape Town would be great. Great city to visit.
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  • Austline

    Austline

    12 Jun, 2019 11:28 am

    Daily 787 Syd/Jnb; reduced capacity and higher fares. Rumours strong that SAA will be pulling out of Per/Jnb route due to substantial losses and their crippling financial position.
    SQ will take up the flak and add capacity Sin/SA..
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    Carrots

  • James C

    Carrots

    12 Jun, 2019 01:50 pm

    With a bit of luck it could lead to the late afternoon SIN-JNB flight becoming daily. The 1am ish departure flight makes for a looooong travel day not to mention the evening arrival rather than early AM.
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  • maabbot

    maabbot

    12 Jun, 2019 05:11 pm

    How is that a good thing for PERTH travelers? You want a route to fall over so PERTH travelers hub through Singapore to J’burg so Singapore gets increased capacity?
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  • Phillip Maguire

    Felipe

    12 Jun, 2019 03:39 pm

    Some foreign airlines are operating 787 aircraft already on non stop flights to South America, and I assume they have regulatory approvals to do this. Having said that, I still believe it is wise to err on the side of caution, and continue with quad jets on these transoceanic flights of SYD-SCL, and SYD-JNB. I know about ETOPS and how aircraft are rated to meet these requirements, but when it comes to the crunch, having 4 engines is extra insurance when faced with a critical emergency, in a very remote region where landing may still be hours away.
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  • Jason526

    Jason526

    12 Jun, 2019 03:58 pm

    I still see great potential for 747s on domestic routes and leisure destinations. 747s are still flying high demand routes such as from Beijing to Shanghai/Guangzhou. Instead of retiring them, give them a face lift and use them for MEL/SYD/BNE/PER.
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  • alexlips99

    alexlips99

    12 Jun, 2019 07:11 pm

    The enormous amount of fuel burnt getting a guzzling-747 off the ground is enormous & wouldn't stack up for a 1-2 hour flight. 747 access at domestic terminals is a problem, as is crew scheduling - 747 pilots are their most senior and only fly a handful of long-haul flights each month. They would have to train young (cheaper) pilots willing to work the long hours of domestic shuttling. Then there's the high maintenance costs. Unfortunately, I think these Queens are headed to the desert (or a cargo airline).
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  • Zulu

    Zulu

    12 Jun, 2019 04:07 pm

    If Air Mauritius - who fly to Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, East Africa, Seychelles & Madagascar got their act in order and did daily flights from Perth instead of a few times a week we could get easily to all these places instead of relying on financially stricken SAA, let alone Qantas & their eastern state centric mentality
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  • Dunc

    Dunc

    12 Jun, 2019 05:32 pm

    Perth is a tiny population base compared to Sydney or Melbourne so locals suck up to it. Yes ETOPS rules changed but the flight time is still longer than that of a four engine plan. Remember Virgin pulled out of JoBurgh because the four engined 747 could take a shorter route and safe almost 3 hours. Yes the two engined 787 can fly the new ETPOS route so could a Virgin 777 but four engines would still be about 90 minutes quicker, same applies to South America. QANTAS has said for years it wants Cape Town, simple 70%+ of their passengers have tickets to Cape Town. Cape Town has more international airlines than JoBurgh and sometime in the next two years will overtake JoBurgh for international passengers.
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    alexlips99

  • maabbot

    maabbot

    12 Jun, 2019 07:59 pm

    Hey Dunc - Perth has a major South African expat community and 50% the population of Sydney. Australia is a lot more than Sydney or Melbourne, both of which are tiny cities on a global sense based on your definition...
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    bradl

  • Traveller14

    Traveller14

    14 Jun, 2019 02:42 pm

    Sydney and Melbourne have become medium sized cities (population wise.) They aren't a Jakarta or Manila by any stretch.

    Agree that Perth is no longer a 'small' city: it's becoming a 'small to medium' one, and despite problems with economic growth in the last few years, one can see it growing in the future, provided its high taxing State government doesn't further up the tax take, especially from miners.
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  • Matt Stevenson

    Madhatter49

    14 Jun, 2019 05:24 pm

    Perth may have a small population, but it's perfect as a hub for SA, WA, NT, QLD, VIC residents who don't wish to backtrack across the other side of the country to get flights from Sydney and then pass over their home again on the flight to their destination.
    Sydney based flights are good for east coast residents but useless to the rest of the country.
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  • Brian Williams

    evilbrian

    12 Jun, 2019 05:44 pm

    I never fly twin engined aircraft over long expanses of water, if at all possible. I like the extra "insurance".
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  • Otto Van De Velde

    OttoV

    12 Jun, 2019 05:54 pm

    I cannot understand the non sense over the use of the current lounge by Qantas in Perth. Having flown QF 09 and QF 10 the lounge is a fabulous resource albeit under utilised. It’s further use on a potential Perth/ Joberg would benefit the WA / Perth communities. Surely it is understood how many ex Springboks live in WA. A Melbourne -Perth- Capetown route, Alan....pencil me in! The proposition that these flights land in one terminal and depart from another as the apparent basis of the dispute simply replicates the Sydney idiocy and continues to appear to make the Perth Airport folk a laughing stock for spitting the dummy. Similarly, a Melbourne to Santiago and or Lima; bring it on for my underused stash of FFPs.

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  • patrickk

    patrickk

    13 Jun, 2019 06:46 am

    Ottov the difference between Perth and Sydney is not only the bus for passengers but also the need to tow the connecting plane across the field. That does not happen in Sydney as it is not a stopover port. That is the silliness at the basis of the dispute.
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  • Karl Lofhjelm

    Bigtones

    12 Jun, 2019 09:20 pm

    Why not use the a380 SYD-JNB instead of Syd-Tokyo . I’d feel much safer with four engines flying in that remote part of the world near Antarctica & with the black spot on that route
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  • David Henshall

    Red Cee

    13 Jun, 2019 10:34 am

    Perth Airport have successfully seen to Perth missing out on direct flights from Perth to JNB, and CDG. Added to the list are potential locations such as FRA. One has to ask, are they serving the Perth and wider Western Australian community?
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  • brettepi

    brettepi

    13 Jun, 2019 02:25 pm

    im flying sydney to santiago business class on the 747 tomorrow, are the seats likely to be old and outdated?
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  • Traveller14

    Traveller14

    14 Jun, 2019 02:39 pm

    Yes, unfortunately the B744s while 'Queen of the Skies' are outdated.
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  • concorde70

    concorde70

    14 Jun, 2019 05:50 pm

    I would like to see Qantas fly to Johannesburg from Melbourne. Getting an early flight to Sydney and having to put up with its terrible international transfer at rush hour just to fly over Melbourne around midday and then on the way back flying over Melbourne just to suffer through Sydney Airport again and another three hours to get back to Melbourne is the worst part of that trip!!
    Flying QF63 out of Melbourne would also make the flight an hour shorter each way for passengers from Melbourne and not much longer for passengers from Sydney.
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  • concorde70

    concorde70

    14 Jun, 2019 05:56 pm

    PS: I would also prefer the A380 over the 787 for this route, but economics will dictate.
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  • Greg Petersen

    mrcooper

    15 Jun, 2019 11:26 am

    Don’t think the 787 can do the JoBurg flights from Sydney direct and return. A380 will replace the 747. Just my guess.
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20 Jun, 2019 01:24 am

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