Boeing’s “Dreamliner” could mean fewer connections for Winnipeg travelers

Aviation enthusiasts were abuzz Tuesday as the Boeing 787 lifted off on its first test flight. The new widebody jetliner — which must still undergo extensive testing before it enters into service — is designed to make travel a little less stressful for long-haul travelers by allowing them to bypass much-hated hubs like Los Angeles and London Heathrow, and by offering more non-stop overseas flights from secondary markets.

For example, let’s say you want to take a trip to Australia, arriving in Sydney and leaving from Melbourne. Getting a flight into Sydney is easy enough: Air Canada, United and Delta can all get you there from Winnipeg without having to switch airlines en route.

Getting back from Melbourne or any other Aussie city, however, is a little more tricky: only United can get you back to Winnipeg on a single reservation, and even that requires a stop in Sydney and connections in L.A. and Denver along the way.

Worse yet, United usually uses older Boeing 747s out of Melbourne, which are some of their most unpopular planes with frequent fliers.

The answer would be for an airline like Qantas, Air Canada or upstart V Australia to fly non-stop from Melbourne to Vancouver, and then allow you to carry on to Winnipeg.

Right now, that’s not viable. Larger jets like the Boeing 747 and 777 have too many seats to fill to make a Vancouver-Melbourne flight profitable, and smaller widebodies like the Boeing 767 and the Airbus A330 lack the fuel capacity to fly the entire trip non-stop.

That will change when the Boeing 787 — nicknamed “The Dreamliner” — enters service. The newest Boeing will allow airlines to offer their passengers more direct routings that bypass the big international hubs.

When the Boeing 787 enters service, there’s a good chance that Melbourne will be one of the cities that you’ll be able to fly to from Winnipeg with only one change of planes en route — a move that will not only take some of the stress out of air travel, but save vacationers, expatriates and business travelers a few hours of travel time as well.

Other possibilities include Singapore, Jakarta (a potential future Asian business capital), Cape Town and Bangalore (one of India’s largest cities outside of Mumbai and New Delhi).

How the 787 might change how Winnipeggers travel

How the 787 might change how Winnipeggers travel (* - Source: Expedia; ** - Estimate based on 500 mph ground speed westbound or 550 mph eastbound, plus 30 mins. taxi time and a 2-hour connection in Toronto/Vancouver)

 

Possible YVR 787 Routes

Routes that might be added to/from Vancouver when the 787 enters service. (Image © Great Circle Mapper -- gc.kls2.com)

 

Possible YYZ 787 Routes

Routes that might be added to/from Toronto when the Boeing 787 enters service (Image © Great Circle Mapper -- gc.kls2.com)

Air Canada has ordered 37 Boeing 787s with options for 23 more, so the aircraft will eventually be used on flights to and from Canada. Other airlines, such as Australia’s Qantas, Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines could conceivably also start flights to/from Canada using the aircraft. (WestJet has not placed any orders for the 787, and probably has no plans to do so.)

Don’t hold your breath waiting to see Boeing 787 service to or from Winnipeg though, as the local market is a little too small to support the regularly scheduled long-haul services for which the 787 was designed.

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About theviewfromseven
A lone wolf and a bit of a contrarian who sometimes has something to share.

4 Responses to Boeing’s “Dreamliner” could mean fewer connections for Winnipeg travelers

  1. Mike says:

    Another well thought out, well written and interesting post. Thanks.

  2. theviewfromseven says:

    Thanks, Mike!

  3. kid zubaz says:

    Will this mean fewer direct flights from Winnipeg, though? In other words, if the Dreamliner means that virtually every major destination will be accessible from Calgary or Toronto, are those the only places that we will get regular service to (in lovely CRJs, I’m sure)?

  4. theviewfromseven says:

    Kid Zubaz: That’s a good question. I’m not sure what the effect will be, other than that some long-haul travelers would stop transiting through the U.S. if better routings through Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa or Montreal become available, which would cut into Delta’s and United’s business a bit.

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