Boeing unveils new 787 Dreamliner

Monday, July 9, 2007

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner at the event
Image: Yasuhiko Obara.

Aircraft manufacturer Boeing have unveiled their new 787 Dreamliner at their Everett Factory near Seattle, Washington, in the United States. Sunday was chosen as its date matches the aircraft's designation number when written in the American format, 7/8/07.

The event was attended by 15,000 people including employees, customers, suppliers and officials from government and the local community.

Scott Carson, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes said, "This has been a wonderful and exciting day to celebrate this breakthrough airplane with our customers, employees, supplier partners and our communities."

The mid-sized 787 will seat between 210 and 330 passengers, and will be the first commercial airliner of a mostly carbon fibre composites construction. Boeing claims that the resulting reduction of weight compared to the traditional aluminium will offer enhanced fuel efficiency, benefiting both operators and the environment. According to the company, the 787 Dreamliner will use 20 percent less fuel per passenger than similarly sized aircraft.

On Saturday, Boeing announced 35 new orders from German airline Air Berlin and ALAFCO Aviation Lease & Finance of Kuwait, bringing the total to 677 orders from 47 customers. At the list price, these orders are worth US$5.62 billion.

The first flight is expected to take place in August or September of this year, with the first customer, All Nippon Airways, due to receive their first aircraft in May 2008.

The 787 illustrates the differing strategies adopted by Boeing and Airbus whose double-decker A380 first flew in April 2005 and is expected to enter service later this year. Whereas the Airbus A380 is aimed at flying large passenger numbers between major hubs, the Dreamliner is targeted at smaller airports where Boeing predicts will be an area of growth in the industry.

Earlier in the day, Boeing received a congratulatory letter from Airbus. The company president and CEO Louis Gallois said, "Today is a great day in aviation history. For, whenever such a milestone is reached in our industry, it always is a reflection of hard work by dedicated people inspired by the wonder of flight. Even if tomorrow Airbus will get back to the business of competing vigorously, today is Boeing's day -- a day to celebrate the 787."