Qantas to use 787-9 on Brisbane-Los Angeles and boost route to 10 times weekly from September

Qantas's first Boeing 787-9, VH-ZNA. (James Morgan/Qantas)
Qantas’s first Boeing 787-9, VH-ZNA. (James Morgan/Qantas)

Qantas plans to offer 10 flights a week between Brisbane and Los Angeles from September 1 as its fleet of Boeing 787-9s joins the 747-400s currently operating the route.

Under the new schedule, the 787-9 will replace the 747-400 on the daily QF15/16 Brisbane-Los Angeles service. The aircraft will then operate a Los Angeles-New York JFK-Los Angeles rotation.

To offset the reduction in available seats on QF15/16 – the 787-9 has 236 seats compared with 364 seats on the 747-400 – Qantas is adding an extra three flights a week between Brisbane and Los Angeles with the 747-400.

The three flights will operate as QF55/56 and have been scheduled as a late afternoon departure from Brisbane and an overnight service from Los Angeles.

As a result of the changes, from September 1 Qantas will have 2,744 one-way seats between Brisbane and Los Angeles, an increase of eight per cent from 2,548 seats currently.

Meanwhile, the number of Qantas premium economy and business seats is rising by 17 per cent to 772 one-way seats per week, from 658 seats currently, owing to the more premium-heavy configuration of the 787-9.

Qantas has configured its 787-9 to carry 236 people, with 42 seats in business class in a 1-2-1 configuration offering direct aisle access for every passenger, 28 in premium economy laid out 2-3-2 across and 166 in economy in a 3-3-3 layout with 32in seat pitch and 17.2in seat width.

Its 747-400s have 364 seats comprising 58 SkyBed seats in business, 36 seats premium economy and 270 in economy.

The 747-400 will then disappear from the route completely from December 1, with the 787-9 to operate on Brisbane-Los Angeles 11 times a week.

While there will be a capacity increase on Brisbane-Los Angeles, there will be a 35 per cent reduction in seats on Qantas’s tag flight between Los Angeles and New York JFK due to the downgauge from the 747-400 to 787-9.

Qantas said in August 2017 it would base four 787-9s at Brisbane Airport, with the aircraft to be in the fleet by the end of 2018.

At the time, the airline was keen to highlight the potential of a new long-haul route from Brisbane thanks to the next generation Boeing widebody.

“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,” Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said at the time.

“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.”

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 2017 investor day briefing. (Qantas)

Qantas’s August announcement 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.

While the revised schedule for Brisbane-Los Angeles represented only the replacement of 747-400 routes so far, there was enough room in the flying schedule of the four Brisbane-based 787-9s to potentially also launch a new route, albeit one that was likely to be less than daily.

Virgin Australia is the only other airline offering nonstop flights between Brisbane and Los Angeles.

A summary of Qantas’s Boeing 787-9 Brisbane-Los Angeles-New York JFK and Boeing 747-400 Brisbane-Los Angeles schedule from September 1 2018
Flight Number/Routing
Days of operation
Time of departure
Time of arrival
 Boeing 787-9 services

QF 15 Brisbane-Los Angeles




QF 11 Los Angeles-New York JFK 




QF 12 New York JFK-Los Angeles 




QF16 Los Angeles-Brisbane 




 Boeing 747-400 services

QF 55 Brisbane-Los Angeles

Monday, Thursday, Saturday



QF 56 Los Angeles-Brisbane

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday



*From December 1, QF55/56
increases to four flights a week
and switches to the 787-9



  1. B says

    Under the new schedule, the 787-9 will replace the 747-400 on the daily QF11/12 Brisbane-Los Angeles service.

    *That should be QF15/16*

  2. Craigy says

    AA You need to update paragraph 2. QF11/12 should read QF15/16 for the Brisbane – Los Angeles segment then operate the QF11/12 Los Angeles – New York segment.

  3. says

    Thanks @Craigy and @B. The story has been updated. Apologies for the error.

  4. Archie says

    Virgin licking their lips with a superior economy seat out of BNE.

    17.2″ vs 18.5″ seat width is no contest.

  5. Lechuga says

    Will any of the 747s end up back in Melbourne before they’re all completely retired for the MEL-HKG route for example, or are they all just gonna be based in Sydney.

  6. Jivyia Flire says

    I know this is very unlikely to happen but don’t you think its kind of strange how Qantas has never shown any interest in starting Seoul and Kuala Lumpur, I mean like those are like the only major cities in SE/E Asia that they don’t serve? I think a lot of people would use these routes? Hopefully something BNE-ICN or BNE-KUL (I know its extremely unlikely for Qantas to be exciting or daring to do this however I hope!)

  7. Craigy says

    Going by the timetable in the presentation, Qantas will retire the remaining 3 RR powered B744 and the 1 non-ER GE powered B744 by the end of the year, leaving just the 6 ER GE powered B744. Currently, the B744 are used for: QF25/26 (Daily); QF27/28 (4 times a week I think); QF63/64 (6 times a week), QF73/74 (6 times a week), plus ad hoc QF17/18; QF75/76; QF11/12; QF29/30. This list excludes the QF15/16 obviously. It will be interesting to see how the remaining fleet are deployed to meet the current schedule assuming there are no changes.

    With three days not allocated yet, maybe a Brisbane – San Francisco route will be introduced. There is probably sufficient demand for 3 days a week.

  8. Stu Bee says

    Hmmmm @Archie,

    I think Virgin management could well be ‘licking their lips’… but probably not at the fact they have a 1 inch superiority in seat width over Qantas. More likely they’re thinking about new ways to not make money…

  9. Craigy says

    @Archie, Virgin already have the advantage of a wider seat. Doesn’t seem to have had any real impact on QF load factors.

  10. owen says

    yes sad to see 747 going too bad qantas dont consider getting a few 747-8 even if its more sentamental. they still eill get great use out of them. can anyone help me find a way of getting the January edition of Australian aviation 2018 question mark .