The 787 ‘Dreamliner’ from Boeing is going to be a ‘Game Changer’, and it could open up new nonstop routes between Boston and Asia.
The 787 has been plagued by development and program-management problems for several years. The twin-engine wide-body aircraft finally took to the skies in late December; two 787s have been in operational tests ever since, both flying over the state of Washington almost daily. The plane needs to undergo a massive amount of testing to receive operational certification, which it will get later in 2010.
The 787 is being called a ‘game changer’ for several reasons. First, it’s a radically different plane with respect to materials and production techniques. But that ‘newness’ hasn’t stopped airlines from lining up to buy over 850 787s worth over $148 billion. This staggering pre-order led Boeing to authorize a second 787 assembly line, which will be located in Charleston, SC.
The second reason the 787 is so desirable is because of what it can do. Thanks to lightweight materials and exceptionally fuel-efficient engines. The plane can serve ‘long-and-thin’ routes more economically than ever. There are airliners in the air today that could fly nonstop from Boston to cities in Asia, but not profitably. The 787 will be able to fly from Boston to Japan and China nonstop while actually making rather than losing money.
The first airline taking delivery of the 787 will be Japan’s All-Nippon, which many people believe will inaugurate service at Boston. The second test 787 now flying over Washington has actually been painted in All-Nippon’s two-tone blue color scheme.