Jetstar has taken delivery of its first Boeing 787 aircraft – the first ever Dreamliner to be operated by an Australian airline.
The new fuel-efficient aircraft took off from Boeing’s factory on Monday, bound for Melbourne. This followed an official handover ceremony in Seattle, attended by Qantas Group’s CEO, Alan Joyce, and Jetstar Group’s CEO, Jayne Hrdlicka.
“Today is a historic milestone for the Qantas Group and Jetstar as we welcome the most advanced passenger aircraft ever constructed to the fleet,” said Joyce. “In just 10 short years, Jetstar has grown to be the largest low fares carrier in the Asia Pacific, carrying more than 100 million passengers. The 787 will set up the airline for another decade of growth.”
Today’s delivery marks the first of 14 Dreamliners expected to join the Jetstar fleet in the coming years. The twin-aisle aircraft will come equipped with 335 seats – the most of any Dreamliner to-date – comprising 21 in business class and 314 in economy. All seats will come fitted with in-flight entertainment systems, while standard Dreamliner features include larger windows, LED lights and lower cabin pressure.
And Ms Hrdlicka revealed that the aircraft will initially be rolled out on domestic routes, before expanding to international destinations.
“We will introduce the 787 on services from Melbourne to the Gold Coast and Melbourne to Cairns for just over four weeks before we launch international services towards the end of the year,” the Jetstar CEO said.
“The entire Jetstar team is very excited to have the 787 take to Australian skies and subject to the certification of the newest standard of even more fuel-efficient engines, we expect to have two more 787s entering service by early next year.”
The B787s will gradually replace the airline’s Airbus A330s on international routes to destinations including Hawaii, Phuket, Bali and Japan. Follow a cabin refit, the A330s will then be transferred to Qantas, enabling the retirement of Qantas’ B767 fleet by mid-2015.
The Australia debut culminates a busy two weeks for Boeing’s Dreamliner programme in the Asia Pacific region. Just last week Royal Brunei Airlines became the first Southeast Asian airline to operate the B787, while a third Dreamliner was delivered to China’s Hainan Airlines.