Jetstar's first Boeing 787 Dreamliner sits at Paine Field earlier today. Photo by Bernie Leighton.

Jetstar’s first Boeing 787 Dreamliner (VH-VKA) sits at Paine Field earlier today. Photo by Bernie Leighton.

Last weekend, the first of 14 Boeing 787 Dreamliners for the Qantas Group rolled out of the paint hangar at Paine Field.  This aircraft will be heading to Jetstar Airways, a Qantas-offshoot low cost carrier (LCC). The delivery will be significant, since as of now Jetstar operates an all-Airbus fleet.

Jetstar currently operates the A320-family on short-haul routes around Australia, the South Pacific, and Asia, while running larger A330-200s on long-haul routes from Australia to Asia & Hawaii. The A330s are a mix of new aircraft and ex-Qantas birds. As the airline receives new 787s, they plan to transition their newer A330s into the legacy Qantas fleet.

Despite this being the first for Jetstar, Boeing has delivered over 100 aircraft to the Qantas Group, ranging from the original 707 up to the 747-400ER (of which they are the only operator of the passenger variant).

The Current Jetstar Fleet is made up of all Airbus aircraft like this Airbus A320 & A330 - Photo: Mal Muir |

The current Jetstar Fleet is made up entirely of Airbus aircraft like the A320 & A330 – Photo: Mal Muir |

As this will be Australia’s first 787 Dreamliner (and the first for the South Pacific region, although Air New Zealand is slated to launch the 787-9) there will be a period of certification and trials required before Jetstar can begin normal operations.  No long-haul destinations have been announced as of yet, but they have decided that the aircraft will launch on some of the more popular domestic destinations (Sydney/Melbourne to Cairns/the Gold Coast) first to familiarize staff.

’œThis first aircraft will be our only 787 to fly domestically before joining our international network, providing a great window of opportunity for thousands of domestic travelers to experience the 787,’ Mark Dal Pra, Jetstar Director of the 787 program said. ’œThe technology of the 787 will deliver a superior travelling experience onboard and it’s great to see our first aircraft so close to completion.’

Jetstar's First 787 inside the Paint Hangar at Everett - Photo: Jetstar

Jetstar’s First 787 inside the Paint Hangar at Everett – Photo: Jetstar

The aircraft will come fitted with the usual 787 features: larger overhead bins, bigger windows that can be dimmed electronically, higher cabin humidity and pressure levels.  Jetstar will fit their new plane with leather seats (the same as their other aircraft) and will  feature the latest eX2 Panasonic entertainment system.

Jetstar joins Thomson Airways (UK) and Norwegian as initial LCC’s and charters taking delivery of 787s. This makes sense, as the Dreamliner provides long-haul capacity and 20% lower fuel consumption than comparable aircraft. For a carrier that means one thing:  lower operating costs.

’œThis aircraft technology will allow Jetstar to reduce its operating unit costs,’ Mr. Dal Pra said. ’œThis means we maintain our ability to keep offering our low fares while providing a better onboard experience.’

Jetstar's First 787 is pushed out of the Hangar ready to begin test flights - Photo: Jetstar

Jetstar’s first 787 is pushed out of the hangar ready to begin test flights – Photo: Jetstar

This is one beautiful bird. I am excited to see this new aircraft flying in my home country and although it’s not in a ’œproper’ Qantas livery, I can’t help but be happy. Now the challenge is, when can I get a ride?


Malcolm Muir, Lead Correspondent. Mal is an Australian Avgeek now living and working in Seattle. With a passion for aircraft photography, traveling and the fun that combining the two can bring. Insights into the aviation world with a bit of a perspective thanks to working in the travel industry. @BigMalX | BigMal’s World | Photos

CORRESPONDENT - SEATTLE, WA. Mal is an Australian native who has been a huge fan of airlines and aviation and currently works in airport-related operations. Email:
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It should read higher cabin humidity and pressure. Higher pressure results in lower effective cabin altitude.

Thanks. It has been adjusted


The photo inside the paint hanger makes it look as though it is Euro White, although the outside shot makes it look silver-ish.

Which color is it.

(My eyes are really getting old. 🙂

I don’t think it is your eyes, because I was similarly confused on Saturday. In some lights and angles it looks almost white but it is definitely silver. Either that or my eyes are failing to.

Bernie Leighton

While it is not the same silver as the two aircraft you photographed in Brisbane back in 2007- it is silver. The debate everyone I know is having is “why is it not the same silver?”. My guess is that either the same shade of silver was hugely expensive to put on CFRP compared to an Airbus, or simply would not stick at all.

greg Smith

White engine nacelles definitely do not work..Why not silver like rest of fleet !!

Nacelles can only be white to save fuel. Since they remain white there is less drag (thinner) than painting over with silver.

Very stunning. I love the simplicity of the aircraft. I agree with folks that nacelles can save fuel.

Very stunning. I love the simplicity of the aircraft. I agree with folks that nacelles can save fuel.

See!?! A simple livery that’s still beautiful. It can be done! Take note Eurowhite airlines…..

Simon Beck

From Flight International (26 April 2013):

“BA’s first 787 has emerged with its engine nacelles painted BLUE. The colours mark a departure from the white nacelles which have featured on virtually all 787s delivered so far, a restriction which had resulted from laminar flow considerations. Boeing says it is evaluating customer requests to paint the nacelles on a case by case basis. ‘We need to evaluate each custom colour request because different colours may require different thicknesses to achieve the desired appearance,’ the airframer says.”

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