QANTAS: Last of the 14 Boeing 787 Dreamliners ordered arrives in Melbourne today
Qantas ordered 14 Dreamliners about 20 years ago; the last one arrives (according to ET) in Melbourne today. Named ‘Snowy River’, it has actually been in mothballs since 2020 due to the pandemic. The arrival of this final aircraft should speed up the return to pre-pandemic capacity for Qantas, targeted for March 2024, less than a year away.
Qantas still has a final A380 to return to its fleet and one due for re-configuration. Once that is done, its long-haul fleet will be back at full strength, pending the first flight of the Airbus A350s for Project Sunrise, expected towards the end of 2025, say in 2026.
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Free up A330s
With the return of a full complement of A380s and B787s, that should free up some Airbus A330s for domestic duties. Qantas intends to redeploy some to the east coast to Perth routes. Qantas has a clear advantage over competitors like Virgin Australia by having fully flat beds on the A330s on the Perth route. Virgin Australia, with its fleet of Boeing 737s, has nothing to compete with those flatbeds.
Of course, some of the A330s will continue to service shorter haul international routes. Qantas is supplementing them with a couple of wet-leased Finnair A330s with their non-reclining Air Lounge business class seats. The Finnair A330s are to be used on the Sydney to Bangkok and Singapore routes.
Qantas tempts us all with speculation about more direct routes using the Boeing 787 Dreamlners. Destinations include Paris, Chicago and even Seattle – the home of the Boeing factory. Back in 2005, when it initially inked in the options with Boeing, it included up to 115 jets. Now, it looks like the thinking at Qantas has changed, leaning towards a mostly Airbus fleet, with outstanding orders for A220s, A320s and A350s.
With Qantas retiring 24 of its current A330s over the next few years and a new CEO, Vanessa Hudson, the aircraft purchase strategy may change or at least be refined. Critics have said for some years that Qantas needs to pay more attention to its ageing fleet, so expect fleet acquisitions to occupy some of the new CEO’s time when she officially starts in November.
There is nothing quite like marking your arrival as a new CEO as ordering new aircraft.