The new aircraft – named ‘Great Southern Land’ by Qantas – will be the first in Australia to give direct flights from Perth to London.
Coming in at just under 14,500 kilometres, the Dreamliner’s new route will in fact be the second longest direct passenger flight in the world, with the longest being the 15,000 km flight from Delhi to San-Francisco.
The 787-9 is touted as a marked improvement on Qantas’s previous long-haul models, as not only does it offer a direct route to one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, but it “takes passenger comfort to the next level”.
— Qantas (@Qantas) October 17, 2017
The carrier says its Dreamliner features “next-generation seating” across economy, premium economy and business classes, with a reduced seat count of 236, giving passengers increased leg room.
In addition to the extra wiggle room, the aircraft also has windows that are 65% larger that “give an increased sense of space”.
Seven facts about the Qantas Dreamliner
- The 236 seats is 64 less than previous models, despite the plane being larger
- Boeing reduced the air pressure to the equivalent of 6,000 feet (down from 8,000)
- The Dreamliner will use 20% less fuel than other aircraft of the same size
- Leading Restauranteur Neil Perry designed the meals for the plane
- The name ‘Great Southern Land’ was the winning vote from more than 45,000 suggestions
- Australian designer David Coan helped model the cabins
- The Perth-to-London route will be the first time Australia and Europe have been connected by a direct air link.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the Dreamliner’s capabilities put it in a different category altogether.
“We’ve taken delivery of hundreds of aircraft in our 98-year history but only a few of them have been game-changers like this one,” Joyce said.
“The Boeing 747 changed the economics of travel for millions of people and the sheer size of the Airbus A380 meant we could reimagine what in-flight service was like – our version of the Dreamliner follows in those footsteps.
“(The arrival) coincides with a new chapter for Qantas. We’re recruiting more pilots and cabin crew, we’re expanding the number of places we fly and we’re investing in technology to improve all parts of the customer journey.
“It’s a very exciting time, especially as we prepare for our centenary in 2020.”
The second Qantas Dreamliner is already in production in Seattle. It is anticipated there will be eight of them taking to the skies by the end of 2018.
— Jon Ostrower (@jonostrower) October 16, 2017
Dreamliner’s arrival welcomed by Transport Minister
Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester, welcomed the arrival of the new 787 Dreamliner to Australia.
According to Mr Chester, the new aircraft will create a range of new opportunities for both tourism and business travel.
“It is exciting to see game-changing aircraft like the Dreamliner make cities like London and Paris more accessible for Australians,” Mr Chester said.
“Seventy years ago it took four or more days for our grandparents and great-grandparents to fly to London; today we can do that in one trip and in under 24 hours.
“As new improvements are made in aircraft technology we look forward to the opportunities they bring to the industry and consumers.”
Is the stopover a thing of the past?
Although most flights will still require a stopover for the next few years at least, the Dreamliner signifies a coming change in the aviation industry.
Decades ago, it took days to get from Australia to Europe – to get to London, you often needed to first stopover in Singapore and Cairo.
While most people prefer to get the flying out of the way, there are some who love the stopover and see it as a necessary step in the travel process.
Ben Groundwater of traveller.com.au said he believes stopovers offer a break from the long and often exhausting experience of flying, and give you something a little different along the way.
“What I like about a stopover is that it adds something different to your journey,” he wrote in a blog for traveller.com.au.
“That’s a small slice of a completely different part of the world, and it usually costs you very little to experience it. It’s like two holidays in one.”
— AusBusinessTraveller (@AusBT) October 16, 2017