Qantas Drops its Melbourne-Perth 787 Dreamliner Link

Qantas 787 Dreamliner at Perth
Bahnfrend, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

For frequent flyers accustomed to a luxurious Melbourne-Perth hop on Qantas’s flagship QF9 787 Dreamliner route to London, an upcoming change may ruffle some feathers.

As of July 12th, 2024, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner service that has graced this domestic leg will be axed.

Passengers traveling from Melbourne will now need to connect via a separate domestic flight to Perth before boarding the 787 for the long haul to London.

Dreamliner Allocation to Long-Haul Routes

This shift in strategy by Qantas stems from two primary factors. Firstly, the airline is keen to maximize the utilization of its 787 fleet on lucrative long-haul international routes.

The Dreamliner’s efficiency and passenger comfort make it ideal for journeys like the recently launched direct flights from Perth to Paris.

Secondly, Qantas is currently experiencing a shortage of 787s. Their current fleet doesn’t quite meet the demands of their ambitious route expansion plans.

While they recently received their 14th and final 787 from the manufacturer, the next batch isn’t expected until 2027. This gap necessitates strategic redeployment of their existing Dreamliners.

A Qantas B787 on takeoff.
Photo Credit: Qantas Media

Melbourne-Perth Aircraft Deployment

The consequence for Melbourne passengers is a loss of direct connection and a potential downgrade in comfort for the domestic leg.

Qantas offers several daily flights on the Melbourne-Perth route, but the replacement aircraft for the Dreamliner are a mix of Airbus A330s and Boeing 737s.

While the A330 offers a comparable business class experience, it lacks the premium economy option available on the 787.

The single-aisle 737, a workhorse of domestic travel, might not be the most desirable choice for a four-hour flight, particularly for those accustomed to the wider cabins and amenities of the Dreamliner.

Photo: Thomas Saunders/AviationSource

QF773 Service from August

However, there’s a silver lining. Qantas is showing a 787 operation on the Melbourne-Perth route, albeit with limited frequency.

Starting in August 2024, the Australian flag carrier lists a single weekly flight (QF773) operated by the Dreamliner. This offers some relief for Melbourne passengers who prioritize a seamless and comfortable travel experience.

The long-term implications of this change remain to be seen. While Qantas emphasizes its commitment to connecting Melbourne to key international destinations, some speculate this might be a cost-cutting measure.

The airline’s historical ties to Melbourne, evident in the pre-existing Melbourne-London leg, could be a point of contention for some passengers.

For travelers departing from Melbourne, it’s crucial to stay informed about the latest schedule updates.

Double-checking your itinerary to confirm the aircraft type for each leg is essential to avoid any surprises.

While the connecting flight adds an extra step to the journey, Qantas’s domestic network offers a good selection of flights to choose from.


Ultimately, the decision to reroute the QF9 Dreamliner reflects Qantas’s strategic focus on maximizing the capabilities of its fleet.

While Melbourne passengers lose a direct connection and potentially some comfort on the domestic leg, the airline prioritizes long-haul international routes and optimizes resource allocation.

The lyrics of the old Crowded House song ‘Don’t Dream its Over’ spring to mind.

With the return of a limited 787 service, Qantas attempts to strike a balance between catering to a broader network and offering a premium experience for select Melbourne travelers.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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