Australia-London Dreamliner flights take off with Royal Brunei Airlines

Australians will have another option to fly all the way to London on board a new Boeing 787 Dreamliner after Royal Brunei Airlines launched flights using the revolutionary aircraft between Melbourne and Brunei.

The airline will then fly the aircraft onwards to London via Dubai.

The first Royal Brunei Dreamliner flight to Australia touched down at Melbourne Airport on Thursday morning at 6.46am.

The airline's deputy chairman Dermot Mannion said Australia had become a growing market for Royal Brunei.

"We have been operating a service to Australia for three years but with this launch, Royal Brunei Airlines now becomes the first airline in the world to offer an exclusive Dreamliner service on all long-haul flights," he said.

The airline also marked the launch of the Dreamliner flights with the unveiling of new crew uniforms and the announcement of an airfare sale, including return flights from London for Melbourne for $1387.

The 787 Dreamliner is the first airliner to be made of carbon fibre, not aluminium, and promises airlines more fuel efficiency – a saving of 20 per cent. It also offers 20 per cent less carbon dioxide emissions than comparable aircraft.

The aircraft promises a better experience for passengers too. The cabin air is, unlike other aircraft, drawn directly from outside, rather than through the engines, meaning it is fresher. The air is also more humid, and pressurised at a lower level – the theory being that passengers will feel better at the end of their flights. There are also larger windows and a more spacious cabin.

But the introduction of the new aircraft has not been without it's problems. Delayed for several years, the Dreamliner has faced criticism over its reliability from some carriers and all active aircraft were grounded for three months last year after a battery fire on one Dreamliner. The incident forced Boeing to re-design the powerful lithium-ion battery and enclose it in a tough new steel containment box.

Boeing admitted in January it was not satisfied with the aircraft's performance. The Dreamliner's reliability rate was at about 98 per cent, meaning two out of every 100 flights were delayed for mechanical problems - up from 97 per cent in October but still short of Boeing's target. The company aims to have the reliability up to the level of it's long-range 777 model, which has a reliability rate of 99.4 per cent.

Royal Brunei is the third airline to fly the Dreamliner 787-8 to Australia, joining Air India, who also fly Dreamliners to London via Delhi, and Jetstar.

Last month United Airlines announced it would start flying 787-9 Dreamliners to Melbourne as the first route for the new, long-range version of the aircraft.

Australia is proving a popular destination for the new 787-9, with Air New Zealand choosing Auckland-Perth as its first commercial route from October.

Note: an earlier version of this story said Royal Brunei Airlines were the first to offer Australia-London flight on board the Dreamliner. This was incorrect.

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