Qantas to spend 1.5 billion upgrading fleet from Boeing 747 to Dreamliners
The arrival of the new aircraft will enable the airline to accelerate retirement of its last six Boeing 747s – an aircraft type that has been in its fleet in various forms since 1971.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the announcement was an important moment for the national carrier.
Qantas expects to invest in an additional 787 simulator to assist with training more of its pilots to operate the new aircraft. This comes on top of the Qantas Group Pilot Academy opening in 2019.
Interiors of the additional 787s will feature the same configuration as the existing aircraft. The Qantas Dreamliner carries fewer passengers than the larger 747 (236 seats vs 364) and has a greater focus on Business and Premium Economy seating.
However, the reduced maintenance needs of the 787 plus more efficient aircraft patterning and reduced payload restrictions on long routes mean the actual impact on overall capacity for Qantas International is expected to be negligible. The Dreamliner burns approximately 20 per cent less fuel.
To date, Qantas has taken delivery of four 787-9s with a further four due to arrive by the end of 2018. The six announced today will arrive between late 2019 and mid-to-late 2020.
There are currently ten 747-400s left in the fleet and these will be steadily retired between July this year and the end of 2020. Qantas received the last of its 747s new from Boeing in 2003, which will be 17 years old at time of retirement. ■