Qantas will put its Boeing 787 Dreamliners on domestic flights as the airline sees growing demand for travel within Australia.
The airline's Dreamliners have largely been grounded since Qantas suspended its international flights last year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since then, 787s have flown only a handful of flights, including government-sponsored repatriation flights and a chartered scenic flight to see the Southern Lights.
The 236-seat planes will fly the Sydney-Perth route up to nine times a week, the airline said in a statement. Dreamliners had previously flown Melbourne to Perth as the first leg of the Qantas route to London, which flew 17 hours from Perth to the UK capital non-stop.
The Dreamliner news came as the airline announced seven new domestic routes: Townsville to Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney; Adelaide to Cairns and Hobart; Sydney to Uluru; and Perth to the Gold Coast. They bring the total number of routes Qantas and Jetstar have added since the start of the pandemic to 45. The new routes will start in August and September, with the exception of Sydney-Uluru (due to start in March 2022).
Another wide-body aircraft in the Qantas fleet, the Airbus A330, previously used for the airline's routes into Asia, will also be added to more domestic flights on the Darwin-Sydney, Darwin-Brisbane, Perth-Sydney and Perth-Melbourne routes.
The airline's other wide-body aircraft, the giant Airbus A380 superjumbos, remain stored in the Mojave Desert in California.
Both the Dreamliners and A330s feature Qantas' international-standard business class seats (or suites, as the airline refers to them), which convert to lie-flat beds and feature direct-aisle access for all passengers..
The new routes and larger aircraft will see Qantas' capacity exceed 100 per cent of pre-COVID levels in the coming months, with market share expected to be about 70 per cent.
Qantas Domestic and International chief executive Andrew David said domestic tourism was growing.
"As most international travel remains off limits for now, Australians are taking more regular holidays within the country and we expect these new direct flights to key tourism destinations will be popular with travellers," he said.
The Qantas move comes after rival Virgin Australia also announced increased routes and capacity last Thursday.
The five new routes, Darwin-Sydney, Adelaide-Cairns, Sydney-Townsville, Melbourne-Townsville and Cairns-Perth, along with increased capacity on other routes added more than 700 flights a week to Virgin's network. The airline is also seeking 250 new staff.
Regional airline Rex, which made its first foray into metropolitan flights this year launching several routes between major cities, has accused Qantas of dumping capacity on domestic routes to stifle competition.