Oft-delayed Dreamliner finally rolls

Aug. 8, 2011 at 12:16 PM
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EVERETT, Wash., Aug. 8 (UPI) -- The Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which had been delayed for years and overran its budget by millions of dollars, finally rolled on the runway in Everett, Wash.

Boeing said it would deliver the 787 to Japan's All Nippon Airways next month in Tokyo, CNN reported Sunday.

"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 787 program.

The plane is scheduled to be the first to carry commercial passengers in the 787 Dreamliner series that has been fraught with delays and overruns but holds promise to revolutionize air travel. The aircraft is the first commercial airliner made mostly of carbon composites or super durable plastic, meaning it will be a lighter plane that Boeing said could consume an environment- and bottom line-friendly 20 percent less fuel than conventional airliners.

Boeing is developing two Dreamliners. The first version, the 787-8, can carry 210-250 passengers on domestic routes, CNN reported. The 787-9 can hold 250-290 passengers and is designed for lengthier international routes.

All Nippon Airways has ordered 55 Dreamliners. Mitsuo Morimoto, the airline's senior vice president, said All Nippon will develop new routes based on Dreamliner's capabilities.

"We plan to use the 787 to expand our business, particularly our international routes. We plan to increase our revenue from international routes significantly and the 787 will play an instrumental role in this," Morimoto said.

Boeing said it will inaugurate the 787 Dreamliner on a special charter from Tokyo to Hong Kong in the fall.

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