787 Dreamliner has star power
Boeing 787 Dreamliner has star power, but will it change aviation?There was a lot of chatter in the cockpit as Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner descended into Boston Sunday morning. Several dispatchers in the control tower at Logan International came on the air to try to figure out during its approach who exactly was bringing the new aircraft into town and how long it would be there.
“Just for the night,” Capt. Randy Neville, Boeing 787 chief pilot, said to one over the radio.
It was clear that the 787 still has a lot ugg bailey button of sex appeal in aviation circles. Only Japan’s All Nippon Airways currently flies the plane commercially after taking first delivery of its first Dreamliners in September. So, the aircraft still has a lot star power as the new kid on the block.
This was on display Friday when Air Canada gave tours of the plane to about 2,800 customers, employees and partners who turned up for just a glimpse of the new aircraft at Toronto’s Pearson International airport.
“We could have kept it open all day,” said Tim Bader, Boeing spokesman.
The Financial Post was among a small group of newspapers invited for a short trip from Toronto to the ugg bailey button plane’s next stop in Boston, where Japan Airlines formally announced the Dreamliner’s first North America route between Tokyo and Beantown later this spring.
Later this year, United Airlines will be the first North America carrier to fly the 787 when its planes are delivered.
Air Canada has centred its own fleet renewal program around the new aircraft.
The country’s largest carrier has 37 Dreamliners on order, the first seven of which will arrive in 2014.
The mid sized aircraft is meant to seat between 210 and 290 passengers. And while ANA has fitted it with about 270 seats for its domestic service, the airline has leveraged demand for the plane on a new long haul route between Haneda and Frankfurt by filling the plane with only 158 seats 46 of which are sold at higher business class fares.
Ben Smith, Air Canada chief commercial officer, who was also aboard the flight to Boston Sunday, said the carrier has yet to decide what its configuration will be the Dreamliner. But he said most of the market research shows that North American carrier will use a 3 3 3 seat configuration in the economy seats.
For business class, however, Air Canada is going to use the 787s to launch a new interior scheme and a brand new business class seat that will build on its popular lie flat seats.
“We’ve already ordered them. We’re just tweaking the design,” he said.
“The idea is to always be one step ahead. We’ve taken a lot of feedback from our customers and our employees. There w ugg bailey button ill be more efficient uses of space, there are ways to improve privacy, and conversations if you’re travelling with someone.”
Once the 787 interior design is introduced it will then be replicated throughout the refurbishment of the rest of the fleet, Mr. Smith said.
The 787 has promised 20% greater fuel efficiency, largely due to roughly half of its frame being composed of composite parts, including its wings and fuselage.
This will help extend its range to about 14,000 kilometres from the 10,000 kms Air Canada’s 767s can currently fly. Its smaller size will also make it more economical to begin direct service between smaller city pairing that its larger 777s cannot, Mr. Smith said.
Boeing argues that several features standard in the plane, when added up, will provide an unparalleled passenger experience. Because the fuselage is made from a rust proof carbon fibre it has allowed Boeing to increase the humidity in the cabin to up to 15% twice what aluminum planes can. At the same time, the aircraft’s stronger composite fuselage allows it be pressurized at a lower altitude, which the company says allows for up to 8% more oxygen to be absorbed in the blood.
With cabin pressurization and the increase in humidity means that 787 passengers will be a lot more refreshed and comfortable throughout their journey, and have their jetlagged reduced upon arrival, Mr. Smith said.
Of course, your ears still pop when you take off and land, and at 15% relative humidity, the flight to Boston was still about as ‘humid’ as the El Paso desert was on Sunday.
But there are several other creature comforts that passengers will notice immediately in the plane, like its windows being 30% larger another benefit created by the plane having a lighter frame that dim electronically with a push of button rather than pulling down a shade.
Their larger size also allows a view of the horizon from any seat in the plane, the company says. The process of dimming the window takes about 90 seconds and about 2 minutes to turn back on.
Another feature you notice upon boarding the plane is how roomy the cabin ugg bailey button is. Because the aircraft uses compressors to circulate the air a lot of the cumbersome ducting has been removed, allowing for much higher ceilings within the cabin.