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Exclusive: Qantas takes delivery of final 787-9 from Boeing

written by Adam Thorn | July 23, 2023

Victor Pody shoots the moment VH-ZNN, named ‘Snowy River’, lands in Melbourne for the first time.

Qantas has finally taken delivery of its last 787-9 from Boeing after the aircraft touched down in Melbourne this morning.

Australian Aviation’s Victor Pody was on hand to capture the moment VH-ZNN, named ‘Snowy River’, landed in the Victorian capital at 8:15am as flight QF7879.

The delivery is the last of a batch of three that has been delayed by two years.

It means the Flying Kangaroo now has a fleet of 14 of the aircraft type, following the recent arrivals of VH-ZNM, named ‘Mateship’ and VH-ZNL, ‘Billabong’.

Like previous Qantas 787-9s, the final three aircraft will feature 42 business class lie-flat bed seats, 28 premium economy seats, and 166 economy seats.


The planes are necessary for Qantas to increase capacity and launch new routes. In particular, the airline is currently in talks with Air France to develop a direct route from Perth to France, as well as several other additional European locations.

“We want to do Paris, and we’re talking to Air France and other European airlines about how we could do that,” said CEO Alan Joyce earlier this year.

Qantas is currently undergoing a major fleet renewal program, dubbed Project Winton, which means it will either buy or have purchase rights to up to 299 narrow-body and 12 wide-body aircraft for delivery over the next decade.

This includes nine more A321s that it will then convert into freighters; 12 Airbus A350-1000 jets to launch Project Sunrise; and 20 Airbus A321XLRs and 29 A220-300s to fly its domestic routes.

The latter includes an option to purchase up to 85 additional Airbuses through to 2034.

Jetstar, meanwhile, is also in the middle of taking delivery of 38 A321neos, comprising 18 A321 LR and 20 A321XLR aircraft.

Joyce last year said the A220 and A320s would become the “backbone” of Qantas’s domestic fleet for the next 20 years.

“Their range and economics will make new direct routes possible, including serving regional cities better,” he said.

News of the new aircraft comes after Australian Aviation reported in April how the president of Qantas’s pilot union had urged the airline the invest more quickly in new aircraft to add capacity to international routes.

In a significant intervention, AIPA’s Tony Lucas told The Australian the airline needs another four 787s on top of the three that have recently arrived.

“We’ve got 49 options (for 787s), but if you order those now, it’s probably three-and-a-half years before the jet turns up,” Captain Lucas said.

“So that means no increase in the main line fleet for the next four years, and at the same time, two A330s have just been sent to Germany to be converted into freighters. At a time when you’re short of passenger capacity, it seems a strange decision to make.”

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Comments (2)

  • Edward Davies


    I scratch my head in relation to this.Surely a fleet of only 14 is barely economic.
    With previous aircraft types QF has gone on to more substantial numbers-21 707-320’s,24 747-200’s & 30 747-400’s,suggesting the type requirement should be in the thirties.

  • Richard Daniell


    So what are QF going to do with the 11 787/8 they have in JQ colours, surly these added to the QF fleet making 25 787 all up would be a much better use of these aircraft and go a long way to replacing the A330’s they have, particularly once the 12 A350’s are added. JQ has 38 LR and XLR’s on order, looks to me they will become a single aisle narrow body only airline.

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