- Qantas took delivery of its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on Tuesday.
- Boeing presented Qantas with a ceremonial key to the plane.
- The Dreamliner will allow Qantas to offer non-stop service between the Europe and Australia.
On Tuesday, Qantas took delivery of its first 787-9 Dreamliner at Boeing’s Everett, Washington factory. After the paperwork had been signed and a substantial amount of money transferred into Boeing’s coffers, it was time for the Australian national airline to finally get its plane.
But first, Boeing vice chairman Ray Conner presented Qantas CEO Alan Joyce with a key to the Dreamliner. The polished key came complete with a Boeing 787 keychain and an accompanying jewellery box, fitting for an with airliner with a list price of $US270.4 million.
Admittedly, the key is purely ceremonial and isn’t required to operate the aircraft. Boeing usually reserves the pomp and circumstance of a key presentation for special occasions.
For Qantas, this is certainly a special occasion.
The new Boeing Dreamliner, one of eight destined to enter the Qantas fleet by the end of 2018, will play a major role in the airline’s future international expansion plans. Qantas will use four of the planes, including the one it acquired on Tuesday to launch its new non-stop between Perth, Western Australia, and London.
This will be the first non-stop scheduled passenger flight between Australia and Europe. (In 1989, Qantas did fly one of its Boeing 747-400 jumbos from London to Sydney. However, that was a one-off publicity stunt with no passengers on board.)
“One of the big advantages of the Dreamliner is that it gives us a range of destinations we couldn’t have done before,” Joyce told Business Insider in an interview. “It gives you better economics because it’s 20% more fuel efficient and with a lot lower maintenance cost given the new technology. That means there are routes we could have done before with distance, but couldn’t do economically that now come onto the radar screen.”
“For Qantas, it also starts overcoming the tyranny of distance we have,” Joyce added.
After all, the 14,497km flight will be the third longest scheduled commercial flight in the world, right after Air India’s 15,127km flight from Delhi to San Francisco and Qatar Airways’ 14,535km flight from Doha to Auckland, New Zealand.
The Perth to London route will overtake the airline’s 13,729km non-stop flight between Sydney and Dallas, Texas. That flight is operated by Airbus A380 superjumbos.
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