Qantas has taken delivery of its very first Boeing 787-9 aircraft with a warm welcome event at Sydney Airport’s Hangar 96 on the 20th October. After performing a flyby across Sydney Harbour, the aircraft touched down just after 7:30am and taxied past the domestic terminal to be met by a water-cannon salute.
It made its way into Hangar 96, Qantas’ main maintenance base and customary location for any memorable events, including the new livery reveal and A380 delivery.
A special event was hosted for both the media and Qantas staff, with nearly two thousand people in attendance, including Neil Perry (Qantas’ celebrity chef), Hon. Darren Chester (Minister for Infrastructure) and Hon. Julie Bishop (Australian foreign minister). The hangar was abuzz, with music playing, along with canapés and drinks being served.
Just as the aircraft’s nose became visible, Qantas’ signature “I Still Call Australia” began playing, aptly matched by tears from a number of the staff who’d dedicated so much time and effort to making the project a success.
After pausing several times for photo-ops VH-ZNA stopped in its final position and the stairs were attached. A Qantas crew member walked up to open the door and greet the operating crew and Alan Joyce (Qantas’ CEO) who stepped out to wave to the crowd.
At this point, Iva Davies performed a short version of the hit song “Great Southern Land”, in honour of -ZNA’s name. Following this, speeches were given by Uncle Chicka (to deliver the Welcome to Country), Alan Joyce, Julie Bishop, Darren Chester and Dinesh Kesa (Boeing’s VP of Asia-Pacific sales). Yet another treat for those in attendance, Iva Davies and ICEHOUSE put on performances of two hit songs, filling the hangar with powerful acoustics. All the performers, Alan and other executives were surprisingly fresh and alert after just having flown 10 hours across the Pacific!
The 787 will operate a number of domestic routes between MEL, PER and SYD in order to familiarise crew with the aircraft, before taking flight for the official inaugural from Melbourne to Los Angeles on December 15. 3 more 787’s will be delivered over the coming months in order to enable the historic nonstop Perth to London service, to commence in March 2018.
Qantas has outfitted the aircraft in a premium-heavy layout, with 42 Business, 28 Premium and 166 Economy seats, all of which sport new designs by David Caon. Stay tuned for a post with a detailed review of the new interior!