But ultimately, I see QF blowing it all off and going with a B789 plan and I think that this is what these 3 flights are really about.
you can do PAE-SYD and stretch it to 20+ hours... just saying.
Plus if you look at the current B789 flying PER-LHR, it's not really premium-premium configured.
Again, I'm not for this, but I can feel that that is what's cooking at QF HQ.
If the 787 was in the mix don't you think Boeing would have offered it. As well as doubts about the range - carrying capacity is important into LHR and JFK where QF has limited slots.
Why not just do SYD-SYD and fly in circles for 20 hours. Undoubtedly there was some media component to the routes chosen.
I suspect QF knows it's demand/yield equation pretty well. There simply isn't the demand for an all-premium aircraft.
QF reduced the number of premium seats in its A380s in its first reconfig (albeit is now slightly increasing again with the more space efficient suites and adding for Premium Y)
-Well, who's to say that Boeing didn't offer them exactly that? "Alan, are you sure that you don't want to rethink this with B787's?"
-If you think about it, it doesn't make any sense to study the fatigue factor on LHR-SYD when the limiting factor is in the opposite direction with up to 3 additional hours of cruising time and totally different light patterns. IMO this was a payload-range test with real-life winds and factors.
-A 180-190 seats B789 is still far from all-premium. JL makes a similar configuration work on several long haul routes.
-The QF A380's just have too many F/J seats. Like many A380 operators, they chose too premium configurations for their A380's. J/F remain a niche, a bigger aircraft can't magically expand a niche, that's something an operator needs to earn through their offering. I remind you that if QF replace both MEL-LHR and SYD-LHR that were previously flown by A380's, the 60-70 J seats on a supposed B789 would still be a significant downgrade in premium capacity compared to the A380.
In theory, QF could also get additional slots at LHR and go with a "frequency over capacity" strategy. This is very popular nowadays, although IMO, this is not a very profitable strategy. It looks nice on paper, but only works within certain parameters.
This is IMO what QF HQ are thinking about right now.
Again, I'm not fond of this B787 strategy because QF is going to lose market share in a developping market and this is a risk for profitability but also overall relevance, which in the mid term could become a risk for survivability rather than mere profitability.
If you lose relevance, you can get overwhelmed by competition and you get a situation like OS is experiencing in VIE, or AI/9W are experiencing in India, or AZ in Italy, where you are no longer a carrier of choice and can only shrink and shrink.
Shrinking into profitability is not a long term strategy that works well in aviation, especially when the broader market will be growing for the foreseeable future.