Bells, whistles, and a toaster – how to make a Dreamliner passenger-ready

Published on 4th May 2023 at 13:06

Our engineering team has been busy this week putting the finishing touches on our latest Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Billabong, which flew in from Seattle over the weekend.

While the Dreamliner arrived in top condition, Qantas has a few additional comfort and safety features that are installed before it starts carrying passengers.

Some of these are to make passengers more comfortable, like installing footrests and magazine pockets in Premium Economy and adding the software to make sure everyone can watch the latest blockbusters and TV box sets on our in-flight entertainment systems.

Others are to ensure everyone wakes up refreshed, such as installing storage systems for the onboard coffee pots, as well as a new toaster (which will toast around 25,000 slices of bread each year) and bun warmer.

And some are to help everyone in the cabin get a good rest, like adding bassinets for our youngest customers.

Then there’s some safety features, like connecting an onboard defibrillator and physician’s kit and installing some high-vis tape on overhead lockers to avoid head bumps.

One of the last tasks is attaching the iconic silver Roo in the Business cabin.

Qantas Boeing Fleet Manager John Hirs says getting new aircraft ready to fly our customers for the first time is a labour of love for our engineers.

“There’s nothing quite like getting a new aircraft to work on, where everything from the seats to the engines are brand new,” he said.

“It’s a pleasure to add the Qantas touches to Billabong before it goes out and takes Aussies around the world.”


Registered VH-ZNL, Billabong is Qantas’ 12th Dreamliner and the first of three to arrive over the next couple of months. The aircraft will start flying customers across the globe including on our Sydney to San Francisco service which resumes later this month and our first ever Sydney to New York via Auckland service starting in June.

Billabong’s arrival kicks off a busy period for plane spotters hoping to capture glimpses of new Qantas Group aircraft, with a new one joining the Qantas Group fleet on average every three weeks for the next three years.

The first of Qantas’ new narrow-body Airbus A220 aircraft are expected to arrive by the end of the year, and Jetstar is adding another 12 A321neos in addition to the six recent arrivals.

Fast facts:

  • Qantas 787-9 Dreamliners can carry 236 passengers, across Economy, Premium Economy and Business, with lie-flat beds in Business Class.
  • The aircraft also features the Boeing-designed turbulence dampening technology, improved air quality to reduce jetlag and 65 per cent larger windows that give an increased sense of space.
  • The Qantas 787s are named after Australian icons following a nationwide poll that generated more than 45,000 suggestions, including Great Southern Land, Uluru and Skippy.