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‘Great Southern Land’ – first Qantas 787 formally revealed

written by Gerard Frawley | October 17, 2017

Qantas formally unveiled its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on Monday morning (US time), revealing that the aircraft has been named Great Southern Land.

The aircraft was presented to Qantas and Boeing staff and media during a ceremony at the Future of Flight Aviation Center adjacent to Boeing’s Everett facility to the strains of Australian musician Iva Davies’ iconic song Great Southern Land.

“There’s a saying in aviation that when you change your aircraft you change your business,” Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce told the event.

“Change of aircraft has allowed us to fly faster, further, more comfortably and more efficiently,” he said.

“So today here in Seattle it is the next big milestone in our history, taking delivery of the Boeing 787.”

Musician Iva Davies performed his iconic Australian anthem ‘Great Southern Land’ at the unveiling.


Great Southern Land, registered VH-ZNA, is the first of eight 787-9s Qantas has on order, and is configured 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.

Media inspect the 787’s cabin.

The aircraft is due to depart Everett on its delivery flight to Australia on Tuesday morning (US) time. After overnighting in Honolulu, VH-ZNA will land in Sydney around 7am on Friday.

Another view of ‘Great Southern Land’.
The 787 pioneers Qantas’s new premium economy.
Economy in the 787.

Alan Joyce and Qantas International CEO Gareth Evans discussed more details about the airline’s plans for its 787 fleet during a media briefing with media at Everett on Monday.

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Comments (18)

  • PAUL


    Good ol Icehouse..

  • Marcus


    Yay ???

  • Dale


    Beautiful. A great choice of names too. You’ll love flying on the aircraft.

  • Brad


    Any risk of some serious critical commentary this week or is that against the rules of the trip? Economy looks as tight as we thought it would be but that isn’t up for discussion. I assume the press who are over there don’t have to worry because the comp flights they’ve received are up the front anyway.

  • Ben


    @Brad – I have to agree. The whole thing leaves me cold. Business class is marginally acceptable for a PER-LHR nonstop. I fail to see where the ‘premium’ is in premium economy, Fancy paying a premium price only to still potentially end up in the dreaded middle seat for 17+ hours – no thanks.

    Economy would be hell in the air for that amount of time. Don’t get me wrong Great Southern Land is a great name and even better song. Probably not many other tunes better capture the true spirit of Australia. However I feel Qantas is trying to make more of this launch than it really is. It is a great aircraft but not configured correctly for such a long hop. They should introduce first class suites or mini cabins at 3 abreast (1-1-1 yes direct access to both aisles from the middle seat) keep Business Class the way it is 1-2-1. Make premium economy 2-2-2 and then normal economy 2-4-2 to at least give people wider than usual seats. That would be something to get excited about. Not to mention something that is innovative and truly pays attention to the comfort of every passenger on such a long haul flight, no matter what your budget.

  • Craigy


    QFA7879 departed Everett for Honolulu at 1230 local time

  • Chris


    @Ben – Premium Economy for the B787’s is 2 -3-2 which is what most of the B787’s operators are going for. Qantas is no different.

  • Craigy


    @ Brad and Ben

    I think a lot of people have misunderstood what Qantas means by game changer. While passenger facilities are better the point about the B789 is its range and the opportunities it opens up for Qantas for point to point flying, potentially attracting passengers from other airlines keen to avoid hubs and to save time.

    I am sure Qantas have done a lot of research before coming up with the 236 seat configuration. One of the goals I am sure from the bedding down period is to see how well the configuration works and what sort of feedback they get from passengers, The economy class seats apparently have a seat pitch of 32 inches and slightly wider than 17 inches. I also think if you are going to get uncomfortable it happen after a couple of hours into the flight. Its interesting that there were no comments about Air New Zealand cramming 301 into their B789s and flying to the US. It will be interesting to see what the research Sydney Uni is doing re comfort etc on behalf of Qantas yields. The lessons learnt from the B789 long distance flights will be used in creating the product for the extra long range flights east coast direct to London for example using either B77x or A350 ULR.

  • Glen


    The plane looks great. Except for the economy seats. I shudder at the thought of 17 hours in those tiny sets and cramped cabin 🙁

  • AlanH


    The economy seats look pretty narrow. 32″ pitch is nothing to get excited about either. SIA offers 34″ on its B777-200 service out of CBR. The aisles look terribly narrow too as I suspect they would be at 3-3-3 in a B787. I imagine there will be a lot of people who won’t be too happy about literally rubbing shoulders with a total stranger for 17 hours flying PER-LHR, especially if that person is a bit on the larger-than-average size!

  • D bell


    I totally get the need for a balanced spread of seat designs and pitches, but Alan you clearly have not flown in economy syd/lax in 380 economy with someone in front of you reclined back onto you. With a 31 inch regardless of seat width is simply, in a modern context, rediculus, unsafe and umcomfortable. It will end up flying half empty and therefore seen as a failure, when, with some honesty from QANTAS, ie 1 less eco row, would give the average travellor the 21st century effect. QF are you listening?

  • Ben


    17.2 inches for over 17 hours?

    No. Thanks.

  • JR


    My god those economy seats are NARROW! Do they know how fat the average Australian is??

  • Warren


    A good aircraft, you can just see it.

  • Scott


    @JR they look narrower than the 737! For 17hrs…..

  • michael


    Given Australia’s isolation, effectively all international flights are longhaul. Yet Qantas still hasn’t worked out that they need to configure their planes accordingly. The 31 inch seat pitch in economy is simply not enough. I recently had the choice of flying Sydney to Tokyo with either Qantas or ANA. The decision was instant, ANA’s seat pitch is over 34 inches.

  • Ian


    Economy looks just awful…narrow cramped hard seats…for 17 hours…NO THANKS.
    Give me an Asian full service carrier with a bit more room and pitch any time.

  • Mannix


    Aircraft seats keep getting narrower while Australians (and others) keep getting fatter. Not a good trend.

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