It has been a long time coming, but Qantas has today confirmed that it will add the Boeing 787-9 aircraft to its fleet. The confirmed order for eight of the aircraft cam during the announcement of the full year results for Qantas.
The first of the aircraft will arrive in the second half of 2017, with the balance arrining through 2018 and 2019. The aircraft are slated to be used for intternational operations – they will help to retire 5 of the aging 747 aircraft, as well as open new opportuinites for city pairs that Qantas does not currently fly.
On top of the confirmed order, Qantas will retain 15 further options and 30 purchase rights for additional B787s, retaining a degree of flexibility over the timing of delivery should they be exercised.
Given the base plan Qantas has announce replaces the 747 aircraft with more, but smaller aircraft, Qantas have called out some ideas on how this may impact on route planning. For example, it may be used to increase frequencies on some routes, for example, increasing to a daily frequency where this is not currently the case. They may also be used on longer, thinner routes that may not have the demand to make a 747 service viable.
From the passenger perspective, it’s what’s on the inside that really counts. On this point, Qantas have only advised that they will work with a team of internal experts and external designers to develop “worldleading cabin interiors” for the new aircraft. So we will have to wait and see.
Hopefully, though, given their suggested use on long haul routes, that they do not try to pack things in too tightly. For example, some airlines have opted for a 3-3-3 layout in economy. Given the width of a 787, a 2-4-2 layout would be much more comfortable for ultra long haul flying.
In addition, there is no word on how the premium cabins will be configured, and indeed, how many cabins there will be.