Qantas Orders 6 More Dreamliners, Accelerates Retirement of Final 747s

May 2, 2018

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Qantas is ordering more Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, the aircraft that will eventually replace the Australian carrier’s aging fleet of 747s.

On Wednesday, Qantas announced that it has ordered six additional Boeing 787-9 aircraft to fly on its international network, which it will take delivery of between 2019 and 2020. With the order also comes bad news for the Queen of the Skies. Qantas confirmed that by the time it gets all of its new Dreamliners — it will have 14 in its fleet by the end of 2020 — it’ll have accelerated the retirement of its last six Boeing 747s.

“This really is the end of one era and the start of another,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said. “The jumbo has been the backbone of Qantas International for more than 40 years and we’ve flown almost every type that Boeing built. Over the years, each new version of the 747 allowed Qantas to fly further and improve what we offered passengers. The Dreamliners are now doing the same thing.”

There are currently 10 747-400s left in Qantas’ fleet, which will be steadily retired between July 2018 and the end of 2020. Qantas last took delivery of a 747 from Boeing in 2003. By the time it’s retired, it will be 17 years old.

Qantas currently has four 789s in its fleet, and it will take delivery of another four by the end of 2018. Other than operating routes between Melbourne (MEL) and Los Angeles (LAX), the Dreamliner also operates the second-longest flight in the world between Perth (PER) and London (LHR). Check out this review of the 17-hour economy experience on the inaugural PER-LHR flight.

The new Dreamliners Qantas ordered on Wednesday will be outfitted with the same interiors as those that are already part of its fleet. The aircraft is comprised of three cabins: business, premium economy and economy. Business class has 42 lie-flat seats in a 1-2-1 configuration — an improvement over the 747’s 2-3-2 configuration.

Premium economy is comprised of 28 seats in a 2-3-2 configuration. Each of the seats has 38 inches of pitch and is 22.8 inches wide with 9.5 inches of recline. While the pitch is generous, the seat is rather tight when the passenger in front of you is reclined. Check out a full review of the product here.

The premium ecnomy cabin.

Finally, the economy cabin is comprised of 166 seats in a 3-3-3 configuration. (The last row is arranged in a 2-3-2 configuration.) Each of the seats has 32 inches of pitch and is 17.2 inches wide. Plus, each seat gets 6 inches of recline.

Along with the news of Qantas adding more Dreamliners to its fleet and accelerating the retirement of its remaining 747s, the carrier also announced that by the end of 2020, it will have finished upgrading the cabins of its A380s. The carrier will be increasing the number of premium cabin seats on its A380s, as well as making some other changes.

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