Qantas Melbourne to San Francisco non-stop flights announced for 787 Dreamliner

Qantas has announced a new route and the name for its second Boeing 787 Dreamliner as its first 787, "Great Southern Land", takes off on its first regular commercial flight.

Qantas will begin non-stop Dreamliner flights from Melbourne to San Francisco from late 2018.

"A significant number of our Melbourne passengers flying to Los Angeles already connect on to San Francisco. We also see strong demand from San Francisco, both from a tourism perspective and because of the business links between Melbourne and Silicon Valley," said Qantas International CEO Alison Webster.

Timelapse: Watch Qantas' first Dreamliner get built

See the 15-day build time on Qantas' first Boeing 787 Dreamliner compressed into just two minutes. Video: Boeing

The second Dreamliner has been named "Waltzing Matilda".

The first regular commercial Qantas Dreamliner flight took off on Friday afternoon from Melbourne to Los Angeles.

Qantas now has two Boeing 787-9s with eight ordered in total. The airline will take delivery of its third and fourth Dreamliners early next year, which will enable it to start its non-stop flights from Perth to London in March.

That 14,498-kilometre long-haul will take 17 hours.

The aircraft will fly what the airline has dubbed the "smile route" from London to Perth, to Melbourne, across to the US and back again.

The Qantas 787 seats 236 passengers across three classes: there are 42 seats in the business class cabin, in a 1-2-1 layout, and 166 in economy in a 3-3-3 configuration. Qantas says this is a less cramped configuration than many other airlines use for the aircraft, with a more typical Dreamliner 787-9 carrying more than 300 passengers in total.

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Airlines have shifted towards smaller, more fuel-efficient airliners, which has seen the popularity of the iconic Boeing 747 jumbo jet, and its much newer rival, the A380, wane in recent years. The era of the 747 in Australia is coming to an end, as Qantas replaces five ageing jumbo jets with the new Dreamliners.

See: The end of the jumbo jet: Pilot farewells the iconic 747

Qantas has also challenged aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Airbus to develop an aircraft capable of flying from Australia's eastern capitals non-stop to London and New York.

Airbus recently indicated it believes its A350-900ULR (Ultra Long Range) will be capable of meeting Qantas' requirements.

The eight Qantas Dreamliners were named after a public vote, with the names revealed earlier this year. Along with Great Southern Land and Waltzing Matilda, the other names are Great Barrier Reef, Skippy, Boomerang, Quokka, Uluru and Dreamtime.

See also: On board the Qantas Dreamliner - how the 787's seats stack up

See also: Airbus A350 vs the Dreamliner: Which new plane is best on a long haul?​

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