SEATTLE: Boeing afternoon rolled out the first 787 Dreamliner, over the weekend, to be delivered to launch customer All Nippon Airways, decked out with the blue and white colours of the Japanese airline.
Boeing presented the plane to ANA executives and crew under clear skies at its Everett factory north of Seattle. The first domestic flights are set to start in Japan in September.
“The plane is being certified to the highest FAA standards,” said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager, 787 programme. “But the real focus of the travelling public will likely be on customer satisfaction and the elegance of the flight.”
The 787 Dreamliner is a lightweight airplane that promises 20 percent greater fuel efficiency to operators than similarly sized planes. Boeing says as much as 50 per cent of the primary structure will be made of composite materials instead of aluminium.
Aviation experts expect Boeing to apply the technology to future airplanes.
The interior of the first aircraft includes 264 seats – 12 business and 252 economy - with personal television sets, roomier seats, an automatic toilet with a wash function, more storage, an arched entry way with a beverage bar, dimmable windows and larger lavatories.
Boeing, the world’s second-largest plane maker after Airbus, is about three years behind schedule in delivering the first 787 largely because of snags in the unusually complex global supply chain.
The 787 is almost finished with flight tests and is set for delivery to ANA in September.
Boeing has taken 827 orders for the Dreamliner, a record number for a Boeing plane still in development. ANA has ordered 55 Dreamliners. The planes list for about $200 million.
Boeing is developing two versions of the Dreamliner. The first version, the 787-8, will carry 210 to 250 passengers on routes of 7,650 to 8,200 nautical miles. A second version, the 787-9, will carry 250 to 290 passengers on routes of 8,000 to 8,500 nautical miles.
Boeing also has been talking about a third, larger variant, the 787-10, and says it is seeing strong airline interest in the plane.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2011.