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Qantas has got its mojo back – Joyce

written by Gerard Frawley | October 17, 2017

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce and musician Iva Davies flanked by flight attendant Alloyesha Newman and Qantas chief technical pilot Captain Alex Passerini.

Qantas Group chief executive Alan Joyce says he feels very proud to have witnessed and overseen the delivery of his airline’s first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

“I’m very proud,” Joyce told Australian Aviation in a brief interview onboard the newly-accepted 787-9, named Great Southern Land, at the Future of Flight Aviation Center adjacent to Boeing’s Everett facility on Monday afternoon (US time).

“You think of all the work and effort from the entire Qantas team that went into this, and seeing how good it looks in reality – I’ve seen the drawings, I’ve seen the designs – but seeing it in real life is just amazing.”

It was a big day for Joyce, and a big day for Qantas, which first announced its original order for 65 787s in December 2005, but after a series of delays and deferrals is only now taking delivery of its first 787, 10 years after the first 787 development aircraft was rolled out and six years after the first customer 787 delivery, to ANA, in September 2011.

“Everything went so smoothly today, having Iva Davies with us performing that song [Great Southern Land], seeing the new name on the aircraft, that was just so emotional and I think anybody that was in that room would have felt a bit of a tear coming on because it was amazing,” Joyce said.

“We’ve only changed the logo five times, and we’ve only done it when we think there’s a game-changing aircraft coming, and this one for us was a big occasion.”

While more than 600 787s have already been delivered to airlines around the world – including Qantas’s own Jetstar low-cost carrier subsidiary, which has been operating the shorter 787-8 variant since late 2013 – how the Australian airline will operate the aircraft, pioneering nonstop flights between Australia and the UK from March next year, will differentiate it from other operators of Boeing’s composite widebody twin.


“That range is special, and the reaction around the globe that that last frontier of aviation of linking these two continents together has got huge coverage, we’re seeing coverage everywhere and that shows you it has grabbed people’s imaginations,” Joyce said.

And even bigger things are to come for Qantas, which has announced Project Sunrise to acquire either the Boeing 777-8X or Airbus A350-900ULR to operate nonstop flights from the east coast of Australia to both New York and London.

“When we announced Project Sunrise in head office we had 3,000 people there, and you could see the excitement, the buzz that that created, because it does show that Qantas is back at the top of its game,” Joyce said.


“It’s got its mojo back, I think, and this [the 787] is an example of that.”

Comments (16)

  • Craigy


    I though the first one would be called Dreamtime but on reflection, I think Great Southern Land is a good choice. It looks particularly good in red underneath the flying kangaroo motif.

  • Roger


    Do all 787 operators have such large welcome receptions when they accept their first aircraft? If not, Qantas is going way over the top.

  • Darren


    Can’t wait to see this airctaft in the flesh.

  • Jonathan



  • Matt BARR


    Finally QANTAS, dreams do come true !

  • Plane-Crazy Joe


    Be advised that The Future of Flight (Paine Field) was retitled Institute of Flight many months ago.

    Btw, I hope Qantas converts ALL of its’ 789 options to orders!

  • Plane-Crazy Joe


    Roger, many – if not all – First Deliveries at Paine Field have similar ceremonies at the Institute Of Flight. It’s a historic event for an airline! Whereas subsequent fleet deliveries … are from Boeing’s Delivery Center across the runway.

  • Chris


    The B789’s having been flying in and out of Australia since July 2014 by Air NZ. Not sure what all of the excitement is about.

  • Bob


    @ Chris

    The excitement is probably because it’s been a long time coming (for various reasons), it’s the first 787 for Qantas mainline and, as the title of the magazine says, it’s AUSTRALIAN aviation. Don’t be a hater, let them have their excitement.

  • AlanH


    Good as the B787 series is touted to be (and I must declare I have never flown in one) why is Joyce so buoyed by the idea that his economy pax will be forced to fly non-stop for 17 hours in a 32″ pitch seat just a little bit wider than 17″ and in a 3-3-3 configuration with narrow aisles? That sounds like torture! And he’s chomping on the bit to introduce 20-hour non-stop flights to the US in years to come! Who would want that? This is not the sort of international travel one should expect heading into the middle of the 21st Century! Humans who can only afford an economy class ticket need sound comfortable sleep just as much as the business traveler! I would prefer a break in my trip, preferably with an o’night layover in a hotel.

  • David


    Congratulations to Alan Joyce and qantas for taking delivery of a wonderful aeroplane. I can’t wait to see it in the flesh.

  • Ben


    @ Roger & Chris

    Bang on, probably trying to hide the fact that Y in these planes is torture for long haul.

  • Bob


    @ Ben

    So don’t fly in Y. Book on a 380/747 and go via SIN on your way to LHR.

    It probably will be tight, but I don’t know why everyone is banging on about it. Surely you can see there is a specific purpose for the aircraft.

    If they wanted to use it in a traditional sense it would hold around 290/300, but it would not be able to do the “hub busting” and skipping stops to LHR that QF want.

    So, to make money using it, they have to make the thing premium heavy and be able to take a good upload of both fuel and freight.

    If they didn’t really want to do that, they would have 777-300ers.

    You might get some reprieve with the -8x and the 350. Who knows…..

  • Michael


    @AlanH & Ben

    Then fly someone else, or the QF A380. No one’s forcing you into a QF 787-9 to fly long haul, and just about everyone else does the same thing. Even the “devil in many’s eyes” United is flying its 789s on ULR missions and they can still fill the plane to the grim and earn good money, and they have an inferior seat than QF has.

  • Craigy


    Well said Michael!!!

  • Rocket


    To all the detractors… been around a long time and all the things people are saying about spending 17 hours in economy were all said when 12, 13, 14 and 15 hour flights were originally introduced… the 14 direct LAX from East Coast elicited the same detracting statements at the time. People got used to it.

    As for the delivery ceremony, yes, EVERY airline does something special for their first of a type and some go even further… just have to look at the Airbus ceremonies if people thing Boeing and Qantas are over the top.

    Lastly, it IS a game-changer no matter how many people have been operating it for the last few years… because it is the beginning of non-stop flights from mainland Australia to anywhere in the world which other carriers don’t have the traffic rights for other than carriers in the countries that are being operated to… e.g. I assume BA could convert one of its frequencies or rights that it isn’t currently using to fly a 787 LHR-PER but what it will do is stop the effective ‘fraud’ of intermediate carriers who are domiciled somewhere other than the UK or Australia from operating direct as well because their operations are centred on their hubs and they don’t have rights to operate Australia-Europe direct but rather do it through a sneaky stop over – in the past it was a change of flight number then an ‘A’ or similar being added to get around traffic restrictions.

    However, I have no doubt someone in our stupid government will allow open slather at some point and let anyone fly these routes. That will be consistent with previous stupidity in the area of aviation policy.

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