Qantas will take the reins of its first Boeing 787-9 in October 2017 and expects to reveal the first Dreamliner routes by year's end.
Speaking to Australian Business Traveller at the CAPA Australia Pacific Summit 2016, Qantas International CEO Gareth Evans confirmed the October delivery of the first red-tailed Dreamliner, with three more to follow by June 2018 and another four in the twelve months after that.
Qantas still has 15 purchase options and 30 purchase rights for the next-gen jetliner up its sleeve, and is tipped to take up some of those orders this year.
The fuel-efficient Boeing 787-9s will replace older Boeing 747s and also be used to launch new international destinations, with an eye towards 'monopoly routes' such as Melbourne-Dallas and Sydney-Chicago where Qantas faces no competition.
“We’re working through exactly where those planes are going to fly right now,” Evans explains, highlighting that “the range that (the Boeing 787) brings and the capability that it brings to fly ultra-long distances is extremely important for a carrier like us.”
It’s understood that the seating configuration on board will be heavily geared towards business class and premium economy passengers.
According to one internal Qantas Boeing 787-9 configuration plan sighted by Australian Business Traveller the Dreamliners could see 42 seats in business class, 28 in premium economy and just 165 in economy.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has previously said the airline's Boeing 787-9s would sport "a very luxurious configuration,", beginning with business class seats based on the airline's highly-regarded Airbus A330 Business Suite (below).
AusBT review: Qantas A330 Business Suite business class
"There will be a big business class and a big premium economy cabin," Joyce promised – and while the economy seats will be nine-across in a 3-3-3 arrangement, Joyce maintained "we will be giving some very good seat pitch for economy seats given the the lengths we’ll be flying."
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