First Jetstar Boeing 787 Dreamliner flight takes off

Flight attendants serve passengers on board Jetstar's first commercial Dreamliner flight.
Flight attendants serve passengers on board Jetstar's first commercial Dreamliner flight. Photo: Sharon Walker

Jetstar's first commercial Boeing 787 Dreamliner flight touched down on the Gold Coast at 12pm local time on Wednesday.

Flight JQ432 took off on its inaugural fight from Melbourne Airport to the Gold Coast at 11.15am today with 225 passengers on board, including Boeing, Qantas and Jetstar bosses, media and aviation enthusiasts.

After a departure-gate press conference, Jetstar CEO Jayne Hrdlicka marked the milestone by personally welcoming each passenger on board the aircraft, which burns 20 per cent less fuel than the A330 currently flying its international routes.

Passengers disembark Jetstar's first commercial Dreamliner flight after landing on the Gold Coast.
Passengers disembark Jetstar's first commercial Dreamliner flight after landing on the Gold Coast. Photo: Sharon Walker

"We are making aviation history in Australia today," she said.

"For us the 787 is game changing technology because it helps us keep fuel costs down and therefore fares low."

The Jetstar aircraft marks the 200th Dreamliner in the air. It will fly domestic routes between Melbourne, the Gold Coast and Cairns for the next four weeks and then begin its international services to Bali, with Hawaii, Singapore and Phuket to follow in 2014.

Nineteen-year-old self confessed aviation-geek and student pilot Liam Rasmussen bought his seat minutes after seeing bookings open on Twitter last month, scoring the coveted 1A seat.

The Jetstar Dreamliner cabin has USB power sockets at every seat, seat-to-seat chat apps, 30 per cent bigger windows, high ceilings and a 30-inch seat pitch.

The $228 million Dreamliner is the first of 14 ordered by Jetstar for its international routes. But the Boeing aircraft has been plagued by technical problems since its introduction with aviation authorities overseas grounding the entire global fleet for three months earlier this year while battery and other issues were ironed out.

"This aircraft has been through extensive testing both with Australian aviation authority CASA and Boeing and I am 100 per cent confident the battery issues have been resolved," Ms Hrdlicka said.

But on Monday Japan Airlines reported to Boeing a possible glitch in the battery system on the Dreamliner, after pilots saw an indicator warning light en route from Finland.

JAL said instruments warned pilots there was a problem with the battery connected to the plane's auxiliary power unit on the flight from Helsinki to Tokyo on Friday.

Engine monitoring systems showed the voltage and electrical current were within normal ranges and the plane arrived at Helsinki without delay, a JAL spokesman said.

Last week an Air India Dreamliner's windshield cracked upon landing at Melbourne Airport. Air India became the first airline to begin commercial Dreamliner flights to Australia in August.

In other aviation news, Singapore Airlines has announced it is increasing its baggage allowance in all classes.

Customers will be entitled to 50kg of luggage in first class, 40kg in business class and 30kg in economy class - an increase of 10kg in each class. The increase brings Singapore into line with rivals Emirates and Qantas, which both offer a 30kg allowance to economy class passengers.

For flights to and from the US, where a per-piece allowance applies, customers travelling in first class and business class will be entitled to check-in two pieces of luggage of up to 32kg each, up from 23kg previously.

with AFP

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