Qantas’ first 787 Dreamliner reaches Australia

Sally McMullen 20 October 2017 NEWS

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The plane, christened Great Southern Land, touched down in rainy Sydney this morning.

After much hype, Qantas’ first 787 Boeing Dreamliner landed in Sydney around 7.10am this morning. Despite rainy and cloudy conditions, the 787-9 aircraft (registered VH-ZNA) better known as the 'Great Southern Land’ arrived smoothly from its 15-hour inaugural flight from the Boeing factory in Seattle, Washington.

At the arrival event at Sydney’s Domestic airport this morning, the aircraft was welcomed home by a crowd of around 1,200 made up of Qantas employees (including 200 of the staff who worked on the 787), friends, family and media. As the aircraft rolled into Hangar 96 at around 7.45am, attendees waved their red Qantas Dreamliner flags as the familiar sound of "I Still Call Australia Home" boomed through speakers. It was truly a magnificent site and unsurprising that it brought tears to a few eyes in the crowd.

After Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce, as well as the Qantas pilots and crew who operated the maiden voyage descended from the plane, attendees were treated to a live performance of Great Southern Land (the plane's namesake) by Australian rock royalty Icehouse.

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After a welcome to the country from Allen Madden (better known as Uncle Chicka), we also heard from Joyce and foreign minister Julie Bishop.

"We're welcoming the newest member of the Qantas family... today we introduce the next milestone in our history," exclaimed an ecstatic Joyce. "Qantas, after 97 years, is innovating like no other airline in the world."

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Qantas unveiled the Dreamliner at an event in Seattle earlier this week, giving travellers a sneak peek at what they can expect from the new aircraft. The airline also confirmed that the Dreamliner will allow for new international routes for travellers. Qantas has already confirmed that the aircraft will fly from Melbourne to Los Angeles starting December 2017 and Perth to London from March 2018.

It has the capacity to host 236 passengers in its Business Class suites, Premium Economy and Economy Cabin. The two economy cabins will offer a total of 166 seats and the business class suites have 46 seats. The business class seats are similar to those currently installed on the A330s, although travellers can look forward to extra leg room as the lie flat bed is 2.45cm wider and 18cm longer.

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The Dreamliner boasts more spacious seats, larger windows, better air quality to reduce jetlag, and ride dampening technology which will minimise the impacts of turbulence. The aircraft also reduces its carbon footprint with more efficient fuel usage that generates fewer greenhouse emissions than other aircrafts of its size. Qantas worked with sleep specialists, dieticians and other scientists at the University of Sydney to improve the overall experience and well being of the passengers. Plus, travellers can also look forward to a fresh onboard menu created by Neil Perry.

Qantas has also collaborated with Oroton and Australian artists Craig & Karl to offer Business Class customers a limited-edition amenity kit. It features a sleek, black embossed print and includes a wraparound eye mask, socks, a dental kit and earplugs. It’ll also come with the current ASPAR products including sweet orange and Shea hand cream, orange and vanilla lip balm and ultra-hydrating face moisturiser.

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By the end of 2018, eight more Dreamliners will join the Great Southern Land in the Qantas fleet. This will also make room for the retirement of five of Qantas’ 747s.

With Qantas' centenary coming in 2020, the airline confirmed that this is just one of many innovations we can expect in the near future. Boeing's Dinesh Keskar also confirmed that it is working with Qantas to create more direct flights from Australia, including a non-stop trip from Sydney to New York.

If you were unable to attend the arrival event, you can live vicariously through our live stream on our Finder Travel Facebook page.

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