Boeing 787 "Dreamliner" makes maiden flight

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Boeing 787 "Dreamliner" at its unveiling in July 2007
Image: Yasuhiko Obara.

Boeing's newest commercial aircraft, the 787 "Dreamliner", made its first test flight Tuesday in Everett, Washington at 18:00 UTC. Boeing claims that the new 290+ seat wide-body, twin engine jetliner is more fuel efficient than previous Boeing models.

The release of the "Dreamliner" is almost two and a half years behind schedule. The project has been plagued by various issues, including strike action, parts shortages and design problems. The aircraft is thought to have attracted 840 orders to date, though some have been cancelled due to the delays, making the 787 worth in the region of US$140bn (€96bn, £86bn) for Boeing.

An aerospace analyst, Richard Aboulafia, said that "[The test flight] will provide a badly needed perception that the program is on some kind of schedule again, but it's still a long way from the ultimate result." Boeing's European rival, Airbus, is preparing to release a similar aircraft, the A350, in 2013.