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 210 - 250 passengers on routes of 7,650 to 8,200 nautical miles (14,200 to 15,200 km), while the longer 787-9 Dreamliner will carry 250 - 290 passengers on routes of 8,000 to 8,500 nautical miles (14,800 to 15,750 km). The new 787-10, launched in June 2013, will extend and complement the family, carrying 300 - 330 passengers up to 7,000 nautical miles (12,964 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 percent less fuel 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. Sixty customers from six continents of the world have placed orders for more than 950 airplanes valued at more than $225 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 are working 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 all 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 December 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. On Sept. 17, 2013, the 787-9 took to the skies for a five-hour-plus inaugural flight, beginning a comprehensive test program leading to certification and delivery to launch customer Air New Zealand in mid-2014. The super-efficient 787-10, which will deliver in 2018, was welcomed to the market in June 2013 with 102 orders and commitments from five customers.