Jetstar Airways to receive first 787 in mid-2013

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Qantas Airways' subsidiary Jetstar will receive its first Boeing 787-8 in mid-2013, making it the first low-cost carrier to operate the aircraft type.

The Jetstar Group will take delivery of the first 15 787s as part of the 50 aircraft Qantas has ordered, said the airline in a statement. The new aircraft will be configured with business and economy-class cabins.

This announcement comes less than a week after Qantas said it will delay the service entry of its 787 fleet as it moves to slash capital expenditure these two years.

Boeing was due to deliver Qantas' first three 787s in 2012, but the carrier did not specify when it would now receive its initial 787.

In the statement, Jetstar said the 787s will "gradually replace" the Airbus A330s that are servicing its long-haul international routes from Singapore to Melbourne, Auckland and Beijing.

The carrier previously said it plans to use the first 787 on the Auckland-Singapore route.

"This aircraft will deliver significant savings in fuel and maintenance costs, which is the kind of innovation we rely on to help keep our fares low," said Jetstar group CEO Bruce Buchanan.

Jetstar already has three of its 11 long-haul aircraft based in Singapore and the number is expected to grow as it starts to take delivery of the 787s.

The operator is also making strong progress with the placing of three long-haul aircraft into its air operator's certificate in Singapore, said Buchanan.

"Strengthening the long-haul capability of the Singapore hub is key to tapping into growing markets across Asia and linking to our other networks, like Jetstar Japan," he added.