It is hard to imagine, but it has been seven years since Boeing delivered the first 787-8 Dreamliner to an Australian customer. Now, the 787s are incredibly popular amongst airlines flying to, from, and within Australia. Qantas, Australia’s flag carrier, was not the first to receive a 787 Dreamliner, but its low-cost subsidiary Jetstar was, taking its first 787-8 on October 7th, 2013.
Jetstar’s first Boeing 787-8
Jetstar’s first Boeing 787-8 delivery was a special event as it marked not just the first Dreamliner for the low-cost airline, but also the first one for Australia. Jetstar preceded Qantas by four years with 787 operations and became the first Australian carrier to fly the Dreamliner.
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Jetstar is a low-cost offshoot of Qantas. The airlines 787-8s flew all over East Asia and the Pacific with flights to Bali, Tokyo, Honolulu, and more. The Dreamliner departed Boeing’s facility in Everett, Washington, and headed to Melbourne, Australia, where employees of the airline (and special guests) welcomed the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
According to SeatGuru, the 787-8s seat 335 passengers with 21 recliner-style premium seats and 314 in standard economy seats. This makes it an ideal aircraft for longer leisure routes. All seats feature access to inflight entertainment.
Jetstar’s 787-8 deliveries actually had an impact on the Qantas fleet. With the arrival of the 787-8s, Jetstar transferred its A330s off to Qantas. Qantas then disposed of its Boeing 767 fleet with the A330 arrivals.
Some of those 767s continued to fly passenger operations, with some heading off to WestJet for their international operations.
Qantas and the Boeing 787-9
When most people think about a Boeing 787 in Australia, Qantas comes to mind. The carrier has used the jet for plenty of long-haul operations and special flights. Back in 2017, Qantas received its first Boeing 787-9, also in October.
The 787-8’s maiden flight preceded the Boeing 787-9s. In fact, the 787-9 made its maiden flight just under a month before the first Jetstar delivery. Qantas wanted the 787-9s for its long-haul flights. The carrier has used the aircraft to fly impressive nonstop, such as from Perth to London– creating the only nonstop link between Australia and Europe.
Qantas received its first Boeing 787-9 on October 17th, 2017, or nearly three years ago. Since then, the 787 has helped Qantas run competitive international long-haul routes to Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York (via Los Angeles), and will soon also fly to Chicago, once Qantas sees an opportunity to launch flights and have them be successful. Qantas replaced Boeing 747s with more fuel-efficient 787s.
What about Virgin Australia?
Well, Virgin Australia did not operate Boeing 787s before it entered into administration back in April. Since then, however, the carrier has been restructuring, though the current plan will only see the airline operate only Boeing 737 aircraft, with no long-haul operations.
However, back in May, there was some chatter about Virgin Australia– the restructured form– taking on Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Nothing has been formalized yet, and until Australia’s borders reopen for international travel, it does not make much sense to acquire long-haul widebody aircraft. But, it could still be an exciting opportunity one day.
Do you think Virgin Australia should take Boeing 787 Dreamliners? Have you flown Jetstar’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner? Have you flown a 787 to or from Australia? Let us know in the comments!