First Boeing 787 Dreamliner Set for Takeoff

Sep 26, 2011 11:30am

Boeing’s long-anticipated 787 Dreamliner, envisioned to be a game-changer for the airline industry, is set to take off with its first commercial buyer Tuesday, Japan’s All Nippon Airways. A delivery ceremony will take place today in Everett, Wash., and the plane will depart for Japan Tuesday.

After three years of delays because of production and design problems, the aircraft’s team is excited about the takeoff.

“Now that the airplane is ready to deliver, the entire team is ready to celebrate,” Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program, said in a news release. “We look forward to honoring our launch customer ANA before they fly their first Dreamliner home to Japan.”

The aircraft is supposed to provide improvements for both consumers and airline companies.

For passengers, the plane has bigger windows, more luggage space and is said to be more comfortable. Cabins will have lower pressure and higher humidity, which will be more similar to the conditions on the ground and help ease dry throats and noses.

One of the biggest differences, in terms of construction, is the plane’s skin. Instead of the traditional aluminum, the shell is largely made of carbon fiber, a high-tech plastic that will make the plane lighter. This will help airlines save on fuel and will open up new flight routes.

The 787 will be taking off from Paine Field in Washington Tuesday, near the Everett factory where it was assembled.

The estimated cost of the aircraft program is $32 billion and experts say it could take a decade for the planes to be lucrative. Individual planes cost between $185 million and $218 million, according to Boeing.

All Nippon Airways has ordered 55 more of the Dreamliners and the first U.S. customer to order the aircraft is United Continental Holdings, which will receive its planes next year. Boeing has about 800 orders for the plane from companies around the world.

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