With Qantas's 787 order, were the first 15 options (now all used up) at the bargain price?
I've calculated the seats for the 11 747s that they had prior to the 787s and the 14 787s and there is a bit of a loss in capacity (some capacity might be added by extra a330 deployed internationally)
Qantas will lose 66 business seats, gain 4 premium economy, lose 616 economy for a total of 678 seats lost with the change.
Now I'm wondering if since there are no more cheap options on the 787 left, will Qantas soon order a larger aircraft with range (a350 or 777x) to fill the gap.
Edit: I just remembered that Qantas has created a few new routes (Per-Lhr and Mel-Sfo) so the seat loss capacity is likely to be greater (even with higher utilisation rates for the 787)
It isn’t that black and white. Take the PER-LHR route you mention, that replaced an existing A380 service (QF9/10 MEL-DXB-LHR) so that (1) means that capacity has been reduced to LHR, but (2) that frees up 2.5 frames of A380 flying that can be reallocated elsewhere. As it is, that capacity has not been fully reallocated as the A380 fleet will all be going through heavy maintenance, cabin refurbishment and repainting over the next couple of years, but that program will end and they will be back to full strength around 2020... when the 747s are retired.
Similarly if you look at the currently announced changes to the USA you will see that SYD-DFW looses one weekly frequency whereas SYD-SFO gains one frequency. Taking account of seat blocking on DFW-SYD that is close enough a wash in terms of capacity. BNE-LAX-JFK is going from a 747 to 789 later this year, but MEL-LAX/SFO have added a fare bit of capacity, so overall capacity will be up slightly just flowing over different ports.
Then you have the fact that frequencies will be increased on other routes. While there is nothing official, logic would say that we will see 5-7 eeekly frequencies on SYD-SCL and probably 10-14 weekly to JNB split over SYD and PER. That would require more frames than the current schedule. PER-JNB could be an A330, but SYD-SCL would go from needing 1 frame to 1.5-2 frames.
Then you have those A380s coming back eventually. SYD-HKG would probably become a year round A380 circa 2020, replacing the 747 (maybe 3 daily A330 once the new runway is open but that wont be until 2023).
If recent growth in demand continues then I could easily see SYD-TYO become 2 daily which could be done with A330s, meaning that 1.5 frames of 747 flying is freed up. I can envisage one daily SYD-HND mirroring the current times and one daily SYD-NRT with a similar schedule to MEL/BNE-NRT which gives a choice of flight times northbound and an earlier departure from Tokyo southbound (note that during AEDT QF26 doesn’t land until about 10:00 which could be a bit late from some business travellers, who might opt for an earlier departure even if it is from Narita instead of Haneda).
By 2021 Qantas’ network and schedules will probably look quite different to what they do now.