Qantas has unveiled its first 787-9 Dreamliner at a special ceremony in Seattle. The aircraft, registered VH-ZNA, is scheduled to land in Sydney on the morning of 20 October after it performs a flyover of Sydney Harbour, weather and air traffic control permitting. A total of eight Dreamliners will be delivered to Qantas by the end of 2018, enabling the retirement of five of the airline’s Boeing 747s.
The Dreamliner is painted in Qantas’ updated livery, first revealed in late 2016 in preparation for new aircraft entering the fleet and the airline’s centenary in 2020. This marks only the fifth time the iconic Flying Kangaroo has been updated, with those updates traditionally coinciding with the introduction of a significant new aircraft type.
VH-ZNA has been given the name ‘Great Southern Land’, which was chosen for the first aircraft out of 45,000 suggestions from the travelling public. Each Dreamliner will be named after something that is uniquely Australian, including animals, places and literature.
At a ceremony at the Boeing factory in Seattle, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the first Dreamliner signaled the start of an exciting new era for the national carrier and for the travelling public. “Taking delivery of a new type of aircraft is always an important milestone for an airline and the 787 is a game-changer. From the distance it’s able to fly, to the attention to detail we’ve put into the cabin design, it will reshape what people come to expect from international travel.
“The Dreamliner makes routes like Perth to London possible, which will be the first direct air link Australia has ever had with Europe. And it means other potential routes are now on the drawing board as well.
“There are lots of elements that combine to make the Qantas Dreamliner special. The seats, the lighting, the entertainment, personal storage, right through to the special crockery, cutlery and glassware that weighs on average 11 per cent less.
“We’re working with sleep specialists, dieticians and other scientists at the University of Sydney to see how adjustments to our inflight service can improve wellbeing and help people adjust to new timezones,” added Mr Joyce.
The interiors of the aircraft and seating were shaped by Australian industrial designer David Caon who has collaborated with Qantas on cabin upgrades and its lounges in Singapore and Hong Kong.
Two Dreamliner routes have been announced so far – Melbourne to Los Angeles starting in December this year and Perth to London starting in March next year. Additional flights from Brisbane have also been flagged.