India came a step closer to getting the delivery of Boeing’s next-generation ‘green’ passenger aircraft – the B-787 Dreamliner – as it made its formal international debut here Monday at the inaugural of the Farnborough Air Show.
Dubbed the “limousine of the skies”, the Dreamliner was a runaway hit at Farnborough, with all eyes rivetted on the elegant passenger jet.
The plane offers passengers more space, wider aisles and seats and a smoother and quieter flight. It is also highly fuel-efficient.
The windows are much bigger than on regular passenger jets and there is an LED lighting system which mimics the sunrise and the sunset to help passengers acclimatise to new time zones.
It is the first aircraft to be constructed using carbon fibre-reinforced plastic, commonly used in tennis rackets, high-end bikes, cars and laptop cases. It also has an advanced pressurization system that is designed to reduce fatigue and headaches on long-haul flights.
The first plane ever to have a fuselage made entirely of carbon composite material, rather than aluminium sheets rivetted together, the B-787 is built for speed and efficiency.
The longest-range B-787 variant can fly 8,000 to 8,500 nautical miles (14,800 to 15,700 km), enough to cover the Los Angeles to Bangkok or New York City to Taipei routes. Its maximum cruising speed is Mach 0.85 (561 miles per hour).
Boeing currently has 860 Dreamliner orders on its books from customers in 56 countries, worth almost 100 billion pounds. This includes an order of 27 aircraft by India’s national carrier, Air India.
The carrier placed its B-787 order in December 2005 as part of a broader deal valued at more than $11 billion — the largest commercial airplane order in India’s civil aviation history.
Air India considers the Dreamliner critical to its plans for improving its intra-Asia operation. It expects a competitive advantage on Asian regional routes such as Delhi-Hong Kong.
However, the delivery has been delayed several times and it is now expected to take place sometime next year.