July 08, 2007

The new 787 Dreamliner from Boeing

Boeing's first new model in 13 years takes advantage of the huge advances made in aviation technology in the past decade, and is capable of flying long-haul routes using up to 20 percent less fuel.

Servihoo reported that the Dreamliner boasts several revolutionary design features, most notably the use of high-tech plastic composites instead of aluminum.

Up to 50 percent of the primary structure of the plane -- including the fuselage and wing -- will be made of composites such as carbon-fiber, which reduce the weight of the planes.

And now, Boeing, the aircraft manufacturer has get up to 35 of 787 Dreamliner order.

The Dreamliner comes in three models for both medium and long-haul flights with a seating capacity of between 210 to 330 places.

Able to fly up to 15,750 kilometers (9,700 miles) without refueling, it could easily manage a flight between New York and Manila, or Moscow and Sao Paulo, routes so far only open to bigger planes such as Boeing's 777 or 747.

Boeing hopes the Dreamliner will be used to open up profitable flights between cities which so far have no direct links such as Seattle-Shanghai, Boston-Athens or Madrid-Manila.

While International Herald Tribune reported that Boeing now has orders for 677 of the new 787s from 47 customers. The new plane's first flight is scheduled for later this year, with the first delivery to a customer, All Nippon Airways of Japan, in May 2008.

Air Berlin's order is the largest single order placed by any European carrier, Boeing said. The airline also secured 10 options and 15 purchase rights for additional 787s, Boeing said.

The low-fare airline is looking to add long-haul destinations to its route network with the addition of the mid-sized, long-range 787s, which can easily reach Asia and the United States from Germany.

"The flight test will be the moment of truth," said Craig Fraser, an analyst at Fitch Ratings in New York. "That's what people are really focusing on. Does it go from a positive story to a very positive story or slide into trouble?"

The Dreamliner and the A380 reflect the different strategies of Boeing and Airbus as they seek to achieve the same objective -- cheaper air travel.

In response to Boeing's Dreamliner, Airbus has announced plans for a further new model, the A350. But the new plane is not expected to be ready for commercial use until 2013.

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