Honkers on a 787-9 from Australia, are you bonkers? Qantas doesn’t think so with the Australian airline announcing they would fly their first 787 service to Hong Kong from Melbourne on 13 December 13 this year. The aircraft will replace the Airbus A330 on Qantas’ daily Melbourne-Hong Kong service 5 x flights a week, increasing to six flights from 28 January 2019 to 29 March 2019 (due to seasonal demand).
Brisbane-Hong Kong, which Qantas flies daily will get one 787 service a week to Hong Kong from 19 December 2018 with 787 flights set to double to two flights a week from 30 January 2019.
Sydney hasn’t been left out either with Qantas operating the 787 six times a week between Sydney and Hong Kong from 30 March 2019. As Qantas flies this route twice daily, the remaining services will be operated with either a A330 or A380.
Whilst the 236 seat capacity Dreamliner has fewer seats than the A330s and 747s it’s replacing on the HK route, there’ll be a greater opportunity for frequent flyers to nab a premium seat with 42 business class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration and 28 premium economy seats on offer. This is a win for business travellers with the current A330-300 offering only 28 seats in the business class cabin and no premium economy option.
Currently the Qantas Dreamliner now flies to Los Angeles, New York, London and San Francisco. It was anticipated last year that the new 787 aircraft would be used to increase operations between Brisbane and the USA. That option looks currently dead in the water with this announcement particularly as Qantas is still waiting on a decision from the United States Department of Transportation (DoT) on its proposed expanded alliance with American Airlines on trans-Pacific routes.
Personally I feel a bit baffled by the decision as the capacity for Hong Kong would actually be reduced on a 787 compared to the A330 and A380 which currently fly there. Sure they’ll be more premium seats to sell/ offer on reward redemption but the economy cabin capacity will be reduced and the layout, especially for those like myself who enjoy the 2-4-2 A330 (which feels quite roomy) will be replaced with a tight and almost suffocating 3-3-3.
Considering Qantas track record of changing things up so quickly (heck the announcement around the B747 flying domestically in Australia last month came as a surprise), this 787 route might be short lived as the airline expands its international long haul aspirations. Until that time, this announcement has me divided.
Are you happy with the new Qantas 787 announcement on flying this livery to HK?