Bali will be the first international route for the Jetstar Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which will start flying to the holiday island from mid-December.
The airline announced the new route as Australia’s first Dreamliner touched down in Melbourne today after a 13,000km delivery flight from Boeing’s giant factory in the US.
“Tickets are now on sale for our first scheduled international service to Bali on Wednesday December 18,” said Jetstar Group chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka. “We expect to add more destinations --including Phuket, Japan, Hawaii and Singapore -- to the 787’s flying schedule as we receive more aircraft.”
The aircraft landed shortly after 1pm to a water canon salute from emergency services and was met by Victorian Premier Dennis Napthine.
The 335-seat plane will spend the next few weeks being certified by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority before starting domestic service for a month flying from its home-base in Melbourne to the Gold Coast and Perth.
The delivery flight went without a hitch and pilots said it had performed well since it was delivered from Boeing.
“It’s very similar to a 767, it’s a beautifully responsive aeroplane and very, very quiet up the front. Beautifully quiet,” said Captain Peter Terrill, who landed the plane.
As well as being more fuel efficient, the aircraft also flies slightly faster than the Airbus A330s it will replace and shaved about 30 minutes off the normal flying time as it cruised at Mach 0.86 at 40,000ft. It was estimated it used 8000kg less fuel than an A330 following it on the same route, a 15 per cent improvement with an extra 25 seats and $1 million worth of spare parts in the hold.
Unlike the delivery of the Airbus A380 in 2008, which saw almost six cartons Grange Hermitage consumed, the 57 passengers failed to down the 31 bottles of French champagne provided for the two-leg flight and the remaining 13 have been donated by Boeing to charity.
“Unlike previous flights, this wasn’t party town,” said Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce, who said he was pleased with the way the plane performed and the reaction to new cabin features.
The 787 has windows that are 60 per cent bigger than a conventional plane and operates wit higher humidity and cabin pressure.
The aircraft also attempts to counteract turbulence to give a smoother ride. Sensors on the 787 continually adjust moveable panels on the wing in an attempt to smooth out the turbulence.
Two additional planes are due to be delivered by the end of this year and are expected to enter service early next year. Jetstar International will use the 787 to replace 11 A330s and will ultimately take 14 of the planes.
Jetstar's first Boeing 787 the airline has provided a sneak peak at its business and economy seats via a 'fly-though' computer graphics video and information shared on its special Jetstar Boeing 787 Dreamliner web page.
Jetstar Boeing 787 business classThe pointy end of Jetstar's Boeing 787 will be fitted with 21 of these leather-clad Recaro business class seats arranged in a 2-3-2 layout.
Jetstar tells us the seat pitch will be around 38 inches, comparable to the airline's current A330 fleet.
Each business class seat will include a 10.6 inch touchscreen display, AC power socket and USB port.
Jetstar Boeing 787 economy classThere bulk of Jetstar's Boeing 787 is given over to 314 slimline and lightweight Pinnacle economy seats from BE Aerospace.
These are ranked in a 3-3-3 layout with a seat pitch of 31-32 inches.
Each traveller gets their own 9 inch touchscreen and USB port, with an AC power outlet shared between every two seats.