Qantas has announced Melbourne-Los Angeles as the first international route for its Boeing 787-9 fleet.
The nonstop service will operate six times a week from December 15 2017, Qantas said in a statement on Tuesday.
Currently, Qantas flies daily between Melbourne and Los Angeles with Airbus A380 equipment, as well as two services a week using Boeing 747-400s, offering a choice of morning or afternoon departures from Tullamarine.
Under the new schedule, the existing daily A380 flights will remain in place alongside the six 787-9 services a week.
The increase from nine to 13 flights a week will represent an additional 1,400 or so seats a week on the route, Qantas said.
Qantas international chief executive Gareth Evans said the Victorian state government and its tourism marketing arm Visit Victoria would help promote the new services.
“We’ll be working with Visit Victoria on joint marketing campaigns to highlight what Victoria and the Qantas Dreamliner have to offer,” Evans said in a statement on Tuesday.
Tickets for the new 787-9 Melbourne-Los Angeles flights will go on sale on Christmas Day. The choice of Melbourne-Los Angeles was in keeping previous statements from the airline saying the 787-9s were bought to gradually take over routes operated by the 747-400.
Qantas is due to take delivery of the first of eight 787-9s on firm order in October 2017.
The aircraft will be configured with 236 seats, comprising 42 business class seats (in a 1-2-1 configuration), 28 premium economy seats (at 2-3-2 abreast) and 166 economy seats (at nine abreast).
United, which is the only other operator on the route, began Melbourne-Los Angeles flights in October 2014 with the 787-9. Meanwhile, Virgin Australia said in September it would return to the Melbourne-Los Angeles route from April 4 2017, with five flights a week using Boeing 777-300ERs.
The announcement of Qantas’s first international route with the 787-9 comes two days after the airline committed to flying nonstop between Perth and London from March 2018 using the next generation aircraft.
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