After more than three years of delays, Boeing`s 787 Dreamliner arrived on schedule Wednesday, touching down in Hong Kong at the end of its maiden commercial flight which left Tokyo four hours eight minutes earlier.
Many believe the debut of the 787 will usher in an era of fuel-efficient aircraft and unprecedented passenger comfort. The planes body is mostly constructed from carbon-composite materials that Boeing says will deliver 20% more fuel efficiency.
Dreamliner passengers can expect roomier seats, more storage and larger, manually dimmable windows. Economy class will see some luxury additions, with a bar, female-only lavatories and Panasonic entertainment on demand for every passenger.
Scott Fancher, the head of the 787 programme, said the launch of the Dreamliner was a “game changer” for commercial aviation. “It sets a new standard in the design of commercial aircraft,” he told reporters. “It is truly graceful, with an interior to complement this. The travelling public will soon get to experience it. We have designed a plane that will change the direction of commercial aviation.”
All Nippon Airways is the first carrier to fly the plane and expects to have seven of them by the end of the year. United Continental Holdings Inc. will be the first U.S. carrier to fly the 787, getting delivery sometime in the second half of 2012.
The Dreamliner, at a sticker price ranging from $140 to $200 million each, is the fastest selling aircraft in Boeing’s history with orders so far for 821 from 56 airlines worldwide.
More than a third of the Dreamliner is built by Japanese companies, including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Fuji Heavy Industries.