Qantas has taken delivery of its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, which it plans to deploy on its long-haul services to North America and Europe.
The aircraft features all-new seating products across its three classes – business, premium economy and economy. The airline unveiled the new business and economy seating last October (which entails 42 lie-flat, 1-2-1 Business Suites), and its new premium economy offering in February.
Qantas aims to use the Dreamliner to open up new non-stop long-haul markets, including its debut route between Melbourne and Los Angeles starting December, and its upcoming Perth-London flights beginning next March – Australia’s first ever direct air connection with Europe.
“Taking delivery of a new type of aircraft is always an important milestone for an airline and the 787 is a game-changer,” said CEO Alan Joyce at the delivery ceremony at Boeing’s factory in Seattle. “From the distance it’s able to fly, to the attention to detail we’ve put into the cabin design, it will reshape what people come to expect from international travel.”
As for the actual travel experience itself, Joyce added that the airline is working with sleep specialists and dieticians from the University of Sydney to adjust its in-flight service and better adapt passengers to changing timezones.
Boeing in particular markets the Dreamliner as an aircraft that offers improved in-flight experience, in particular with regards to reducing jet lag through such things as softer lighting.
Travellers flying on Qantas’s new Dreamliner will also be served their meals using new specially designed cutlery and crockery.
Qantas will be positioning the first four of its eight upcoming Dreamliners in Melbourne, with the final four due to be based in Brisbane. While the airline hasn’t yet announced which Brisbane routes the Dreamliners will serve, it has said “additional flights from Brisbane have been flagged”.
Sydney residents and visitors will also be able to see the new aircraft when it performs a flyover of the Sydney Harbour on the morning of October 20, provided weather and air traffic permit it, before landing in the New South Wales capital.