Qantas to establish Brisbane 787 base

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce and Brisbane Airport chief executive Julieanne Alroe among others at the official announcement of 787-9s being based in Brisbane. (Brisbane Airport)
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce and Brisbane Airport chief executive Julieanne Alroe among others at the official announcement of 787-9s being based in Brisbane. (Brisbane Airport)

Brisbane Airport will be the home to four Qantas Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners by the end of 2018.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce announced on Tuesday his airline would base four of its soon-to-arrive 787-9s at Brisbane, which he said would open up potential new international routes from the Queensland capital.

“We’ve said that initially our Dreamliners will replace the routes that our older 747s fly but there are also new destinations we are looking at given the capability of the aircraft,” Joyce said in a statement on Tuesday.

“A range of exciting options is on the table that will help drive tourism to the state and we look forward to making that decision in coming months.”

In May, Qantas told analysts at its investor day presentation the first four 787-9s would arrive by March 2018 and be based in Melbourne, allowing for the start of a Los Angeles-Melbourne-Perth-London Heathrow flying pattern.

By this stage, its Boeing 747-400/400ER fleet would be reduced by two to nine, comprising three 747-400s and six 747-400ERs. (The first of two 747s to be withdrawn, VH-OJM Gosford, was retired and sent to Mojave in July.)

The next batch of four 787-9s are due to enter the fleet between July and November 2018, at which time a further three 747s would be withdrawn. It is these deliveries that will allow four 787s to be based in Brisbane.

Qantas's Boeing 787-9 and 747 arrivals and departures schedule from its May investor day briefing. (Qantas)
Qantas’s Boeing 787-9 and 747 arrivals and departures schedule from its May investor day briefing. (Qantas)

While Qantas did not announce any new routes for the next batch of four Dreamliners, its announcement on Tuesday noted the 787-9 was capable of flying from Brisbane to Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle and Vancouver in North America, in addition to operating Asian routes.

Currently, Qantas’s only 747 route from Brisbane is a daily service to Los Angeles, with the aircraft also usually operating a Los Angeles-New York JFK-Los Angeles rotation before returning to Australia.

Its other widebody international destinations from the Queensland capital comprise Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo Narita.

Joyce said the move to base four 787s in Brisbane was made with the support of Brisbane Airport, the Queensland Government and Tourism Australia.

Brisbane Airport chief executive Julieanne Alroe said the Qantas 787-9s would open up new opportunities for Queenslanders in tourism, business and education.

“It is a significant and very timely commitment by Qantas to base four of these state-of-the-art aircraft in Brisbane, particularly given Brisbane’s new runway will open in a few short years,” Alroe said in a statement.

Qantas said the Dreamliners would support 470 new jobs in Brisbane, comprising 120 pilots and cabin crew for the 787-9 and 350 indirect jobs.

Brisbane is already a major maintenance hub for Qantas, given it is the location where heavy maintenance checks on the airline’s Airbus A330-200/300 and Boeing 737 fleet are performed.

Moreover, the Brisbane workshop also completed the A330 cabin reconfiguration program and the ongoing installation of inflight internet Wi-Fi on the 737 fleet.

In May, Jetstar said Qantas’s Brisbane engineering workshop won a tender to complete part of the cabin reconfiguration work on its Airbus A320s, which are gaining six more seats.

Comments

  1. Lechuga says

    So basically, the daily bne-lax is going to be dropped to a 787. Frees up 2 747s, for the majority Sydney routes or the one Mel-hkg route, so they can retire off 2 747s at once.

  2. Jarden says

    To Lechuga, The new BNE 787s will free up two more 747s for retirement. Then there will only be the 747-ERs left.
    It won’t affect any of the Sydney or MEL to HKG routes.

  3. Patrickk says

    The bris-lax may include the New York leg, and the may have enough left to add Brisbane to Chicago which with Sydney and Melbourne connections may work well. It avoids LAX but adds the hassle of a bus in Brisbane. We shall see.

  4. Jason says

    John & David, the 2 A380’s are those coming of QF9/10 via Dubai once it changes to 787-9 via Perth.

  5. ButFli says

    The two “new” A380s aren’t new, they are just becoming available due to being replaced by 787s on QF9/10. MEL-DXB-LHR with A380s becomes MEL-PER-LHR with 787s.

  6. Lechuga says

    Basically the 2x A380s are being scrapped from the mel-dxb-lhr route. They’ll most likely be thrown into one of the Sydney routes because we know qantas love Sydney.

  7. Wayno says

    Replacing the daily 747 BNE-LAX service with a 878 implies a 35% reduction in capacity. That’s quite a significant downsize on this route, unless of course Qantas intends on opening another US destination from BNE with the other 2 Dreamliners.

  8. D says

    So more jobs for Brissy, where are the haters now that always complain when QF axes jobs..(usually to save jobs)??? Good on you QF, exciting times ahead although as mentioned the cut in capacity could be inconvenient.

  9. Luis says

    I think the 2x a380 means that because the addition of the 787-9’s and the retirement of the 747’s there is enough for there to be two a380 that can start making routes to Asia, hope that answers your question. Not 100% sure I’m right tho.

  10. Craigy says

    I have been thinking about the fleet change plans Qantas have announced. After the delivery of 8 B789 aircraft, Qantas will have 6 B744ER. I see a major changes to the international route structure or timing as 6 B744 are not enough to meet the current route structure using B744.

    When Qantas starts the MEL-PER-LHR route, two A380 are released. This means that 8 A380s are required for the remaining routes and 4 spare. Qantas has stated that frequency to Hong Kong is restricted by available slots so larger aircraft will be needed to meet demand. So I am guessing QF127/8 Syd – HKG will be changed to an A380 releasing a B744 for retirement. This leaves 9.

    The fact that 4 of the B789 will be placed in Brisbane, suggests that the BNE-LAX service will probably be changed to a B789 reflecting the average demand for the route and the LAX-JFK route. This releases another 2 B744. This brings the fleet to 7.

    Alan Joyce has said that Brisbane offers new route opportunities, including BNE-SFO. So I am guessing that the Syd-SFO will be reduced with new BNE-SFO introduced to allow the B744 to be redeployed for at least 2 days a week. So this will probably be enough to operate a fleet of 6 B744.

    Qantas have also said that passenger numbers between Aust and Japan have picked up so it is feasible that some of the Syd-Haneda flights will be changed to A380 and some of the Mel-HKG serviced by A380.

    I look forward to seeing how Qantas solve these timetable issues.

  11. Corey says

    Great news for Brisbane, Qantas and everyone how ever I still wish Qantas would buy a small fleet of the 747-8i Not just to keep the classic jumbo in service but to be able to fly those uneek routs. would be nice to know if Boeing or Airbus are going to be able to build an aircraft to fly non-stop east coast aus to NY and London with 300+ seats.

  12. Thatcher says

    @Lechuga – how do you feel now? Bit silly? One of the A380 is being used to increase capacity out of Melbourne toSingapore, announced 31/8. Cannot complain about getting 787 based there either, which Sydney does not have.

    Now Jetstar, AKA ‘Air Melbourne’, on the other hand… 😀