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 (The first of two 747s to be withdrawn, VH-OJM Gosford, was retired and sent to Mojave in July.)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of four 787-9s are due to enter the fleet between July and November 2018, at which time a further three 747s would be withdrawn.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.
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.