Qantas has invested AUD 23 million in a new flight simulator to prepare for the arrival of its new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner – the larger version of the Dreamliner which, technically, Qantas could use to fly non-stop from London to Perth.
Whether Qantas will launch that route is open to conjecture, but some think it will be a goer.
Keeping the same wingspan as the B787-8, the B787-9 is a “stretch” (lengthened and strengthened) variant with a fuselage slightly over six metres longer than the B787-8.
Qantas Group chief executive Alan Joyce joined New South Wales Minister for Industry, Energy and Resources Anthony Roberts at the airline’s flight training centre at Mascot, Sydney to launch the new simulator.
“The Dreamliner represents a new chapter for Qantas and we are delighted to announce that a new state of the art flight simulator will be housed at our Mascot training centre,” Joyce said.
“Our flight training centre operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is overseen by a dedicated team of trainers and check captains who help ensure that Qantas pilots are among the best in the world.
“And from the end of next year, the centre will be used to train a new generation of Qantas pilots on the next generation aircraft.”
Qantas has previously announced plans to recruit 170 pilots between now and 2020 as part of its Dreamliner program. This is in addition to training some of its existing pilots on the new aircraft.
New South Wales Minister for Industry, Energy and Resources Anthony Roberts said the Government and the airline had created a new strategic partnership to support efforts to develop aviation and related industries in and around Sydney Airport and at the future Western Sydney Airport.
“This deal represents a new milestone in cooperation and partnership between industry and government,” Roberts said.
“This partnership puts our State front and centre of the next phase of growth for Qantas following its multi-billion dollar deal to purchase eight Dreamliners announced in August last year,” he added.
The 787-9 simulator will be used for new and recurrent training and complement the existing Dreamliner simulator in Melbourne used by Jetstar.
“The 787-9 will be the first new major aircraft type introduced into the Qantas fleet since we started flying the Airbus A380 in 2008 and provides us with the ability to replace older, less efficient aircraft and deliver potential new routes,” Joyce said.
Some of the key features of the Dreamliner include reduced engine noise, a 20% reduction in emissions and fuel burn, and technology to reduce turbulence.
Qantas’ first 787-9 is expected to enter service by the end of 2017. Most pilots spend up to 24 hours a year in a simulator specific to the type of aircraft they fly as part of their ongoing training and professional development.
Pilots using the B787 simulator will be working towards their certification to fly the new aircraft, which in the case of a pilots already operating as a captain on a Boeing aircraft takes 44 hours of ‘sim time’.
Edited by Peter Needham