Whilst I believe it’s unlikely we will see long-haul Qantas international flights from Canberra (in the next 10 years anyway), Qantas has today indicated that it will consider long-haul flights from Canberra from 2016. I suspect Canberra Airport & Lord Barr would be quietly happy as it would indicate that they may be getting somewhere with their campaign for flights to our ‘international airport’.
Despite my scepticism, I hope this happens and I hope Singapore Airlines and Emirates take a look as well. It will be a good thing for Canberra and economically do more for Canberra than paying $1million for a few AFL games each year.
“Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says he is considering introducing Boeing 787s for international flights from Canberra Airport from 2016.
In a Q&A session following a speech to the National Press Club, Joyce flagged Canberra as a potential long-haul destination, with Boeing’s next-gen jetliner as a good fit for the airport and the route.
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Although Canberra Airport is being upgraded to handle international flights from 2013, Qantas-badged Boeing 787s wouldn’t grace the runways until sometime after 2016, when the airline can take delivery of its first Dreamliners under an ‘option to purchase’ plan.
Earlier this year Qantas cancelled its ‘firm order’ for 35 Boeing 787 Dreamliners an an effort to rein in costs, trading down to options and purchase rights on 50 of the Boeing jets “available for delivery from 2016.”
(Deliveries of the first 15 Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners for Jetstar will continue on schedule, with the first of the next-gen jets due to arrive in the second half of 2013.)
“There is no doubt this new partnership (with Emirates) is a step?change for us in terms of the viability of Qantas International, and therefore Qantas itself.”
Should the Red Roo find itself back in Joyce’s stated 2015 timeframe the airline would start pencilling in 787 routes, with Canberra on the shortlist, Joyce indicated, with the 787-9 being a “right fit” aircraft.
“I have no doubt we will be back here looking at what Qantas long haul can do in Canberra” he said.
At the same time, Joyce once again came out for a second Sydney airport being built at Badgery’s Creek rather than using Canberra as a de facto hub.”