Boeing 787 Dreamliner Provides New Solutions for Airlines, Passengers
Responding to the overwhelming preference of airlines around the world, Boeing Commercial Airplanes in 2004 launched the 787 Dreamliner, an all-new, superefficient airplane. An international team of top aerospace companies builds the airplane, led by Boeing at its Everett, Wash., facility near Seattle and in North Charleston, S.C.
The 787-8 Dreamliner can carry 242 passengers up to 7,850 nautical miles (14,500 km), while the longer 787-9 can carry 280 passengers 8,300 nautical miles (15,372 km). The 787-10, launched in June 2013 and in development now, will carry 323 passengers up to 7,020 nautical miles (13,000 km), or more than 90 percent of the world's twin-aisle routes.
In addition to bringing big-jet ranges to midsize airplanes, the 787 family provides airlines with unmatched fuel efficiency, resulting in exceptional environmental performance. The airplane uses 20 to 30 percent less fuel with 20 to 30 percent fewer emissions than today's similarly sized airplanes. The 787 also travels at a similar speed as today's fastest twin-aisle airplanes, Mach 0.85. Airlines also realize more cargo revenue capacity - a 20 to 45 percent advantage over similarly sized airplanes.
Passengers also enjoy improvements on the 787 Dreamliner, from an interior environment with higher humidity to more comfort and convenience.
The key to the exceptional performance of the 787 Dreamliner is its suite of new technologies and its revolutionary design.
Composite materials make up 50 percent of the primary structure of the 787, including the fuselage and wing.
At the heart of the 787 design is a modern systems architecture that is simpler, more functional and more efficient than that of other airplanes. For example, onboard health-monitoring systems allow the airplane to self-monitor and report systems maintenance requirements to ground-based computer systems.
Advances in engine technology are the biggest contributor to overall fuel efficiency improvements on the Dreamliner. The 787 features new engines from General Electric and Rolls-Royce that represent nearly a two-generation jump in technology.
The design and build process of the 787 has added further efficiency gains. Boeing and its supplier partners developed new technologies and processes to enhance efficiency. For example, manufacturing the 787 fuselage as one-piece sections eliminated 1,500 aluminum sheets and 40,000 - 50,000 fasteners per section.
Boeing launched the 787 program in April 2004 with a record order from All-Nippon Airways. Approximately sixty customers from six continents of the world have placed orders for more than 1,000 airplanes valued at more than $250 billion, making it the most successful twin-aisle launch of a new commercial airplane in Boeing's history.
More than 50 of the world's most capable top-tier supplier partners work with Boeing to bring innovation and expertise to the 787 program. The suppliers have been involved since the early detailed design phase of the program and are connected virtually at 135 sites around the world.
The 787 program opened its final assembly plant in Everett in May 2007 and in North Charleston in July 2011. First flight of the 787-8 was Dec. 15, 2009, followed by certification in August 2011 and first delivery to ANA on Sept. 25, 2011.
Today, progress continues with the 787-9 and 787-10, the newest members of the family. The 787-9 took flight on Sept. 17, 2013, launching a comprehensive flight-test program leading to certification and first delivery to launch customer Air New Zealand in June 2014. The third and longest 787, the super-efficient 787-10, achieved firm configuration in April 2014 and is on track for delivery in 2018.