SYDNET, AUSTRALIA — After three years in storage at the Victorville facility in California, a Qantas Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner has finally returned to Australia. The aircraft was kept in the facility, also known as an 'aircraft boneyard,' since 2020 as part of Qantas' Covid recovery plan, and faced additional delays due to manufacturing supply chain issues. 

This week, the Dreamliner, named Billabong, joined the national carrier fleet as the first new 787 since before the pandemic.

The aircraft flew from Seattle to Melbourne on May 1. Before it can enter service, engineers must apply finishing touches, including the installation of footrests, bassinets, in-flight entertainment software, and safety features. The Dreamliner will also participate in crew fatigue testing for Project Sunrise, a plan for non-stop flights between Australia, London, and New York.

This addition brings Qantas' Dreamliner fleet to 12 planes, with two more 787s expected to arrive in the coming months. The new aircraft will enable Qantas to expand its international network, resuming flights between Sydney and San Francisco in May, and launching a new Auckland-New York route in June. The airline also plans to renew its fleet with Airbus A220 aircraft and expand Jetstar's fleet with A321LRs.

Qantas recently announced that Vanessa Hudson will succeed Alan Joyce as CEO upon his retirement later this year. Hudson, the first female CEO in the airline's 103-year history, will continue as CFO while also serving as CEO designate and joining the board.