Boeing rolls out 787 Dreamliner after years of delay
By Patrick Oppmann, CNN
August 7, 2011 7:49 a.m. EDT
The Dreamliner, Boeing's next-generation passenger jet, is touted as a fuel-efficient aircraft made of composite materials.
The plane is scheduled to be the first to carry commercial passengers in the 787 Dreamliner series, which has been plagued by delays but promises to revolutionize air travel.Everett, Washington (CNN) -- The Boeing 787
Dreamliner sparkled Saturday in the Pacific
Northwest sunshine as the plane made its
Three years overdue and billions of dollars
over the budget, Boeing will finally deliver
the 787 Dreamliner to Japan's All Nippon
Airways next month in Tokyo.
"We are rolling out the first delivery airplane,
the first 787. That's an amazing thing for those
who have worked on the program five, six,
seven years, here at Boeing and our partners
around the world," said Scott Fancher, Boeing's
vice president and general manager of the
The plane is the first commercial airliner to be
made mostly of carbon composites or super
durable plastic. Those materials mean a lighter
plane that Boeing says could use 20% less fuel
than conventional airliners, making way for a
more environmentally-friendly and cost effective
aircraft option for airlines.
So far, according to Boeing, the manufacturer
has more than 800 orders for the 787 Dreamliner,
which has a list price of about $200 million per
All Nippon Airways' flight attendants pose in the cockpit of a new Boeing 787 Dreamliner on Saturday.
The interior of the plane
also sports a variety of upgrades.
Gone are traditional plane
window shades. Instead, a
button on the window allows
passengers to gradually
darken their surroundings.
Boeing is developing two
Dreamliners. The first version,
the 787-8, holds 210 to 250
passengers on routes. A second
version, the 787-9, holds 250 to 290 passengers and
is designed for longer international routes.
All Nippon Airways has ordered 55 Dreamliners and
Mitsuo Morimoto, the airline's senior vice president,
said the airline will develop new routes around the
"We plan to use the 787 to expand our business,
particularly our international routes. We plan to
increase our revenue from international route
significantly and the 787 will play an instrumental
role in this," Morimoto said.
The airline is considering a route from Japan to
the U.S. or Europe that would employ the 787
Dreamliner, Morimoto said.
Despite the 787 Dreamliner's revolutionary promise,
Boeing has struggled to manufacture the plane.
Boeing's outsourcing of much of the plane's
construction to an army of contractors around
the world led to delays and cost overruns.
The future of a new assembly plant in South
Carolina is also in doubt. Boeing's machinist
union accuses the manufacturer of putting
the plant there rather than in Washington
state to take advantage of South Carolina's
weaker labor laws.
The National Labor Relations Board has
threatened to shut down the plant. To meet
demand for the new plane, Boeing said it
will need to increase production of the
plane from two 787 Dreamliners a month
to 10 a month by the end of 2013.
"It's an extraordinary challenge, no one has
ever built a wide body aircraft at the rate of
10 per month before. So I think Boeing has
its work cut out for it," said John Ostrower,
a writer for Flight International Magazine.
"I would say the biggest challenge is as they
head into this ramp up is making sure 787
is as profitable for themselves as they hope
it will be for their customers," Ostrower said.
The airline will inaugurate the 787 Dreamliner
on a special charter from Tokyo to Hong Kong
this fall, the company said.