Boeing's Dreamliner completes first commercial flight


The All Nippon Airlines flight carried its first passengers from Tokyo to Hong Kong.

Boeing's Dreamliner has finally had its maiden commercial voyage, three years later than planned.

The All Nippon Airlines (ANA) flight carried its first passengers from Tokyo to Hong Kong.

The Dreamliner had originally been scheduled for delivery in 2008, but Boeing has suffered a string of setbacks.

Wednesday's flight was a special charter, with normal services due to start in November.

The flight came as Boeing said its quarterly profits were a third higher than last year.

Problems with the Dreamliner have put its launch behind schedule, the latest being an onboard fire during test flights last November, and the company will hope a successful launch will help put to bed some of the memories of prior setbacks.

Boeing says the twin-aisle, mid-size plane features the industry's largest windows, with higher cabin humidity and cleaner air - all of which combine to allow passengers to arrive at their destinations more refreshed.

Start Quote

Just thinking I'm going to be part of aviation history is a dream”

End Quote Gino Bertuccio

Because of the materials used in construction - carbon fibre rather than aluminium - as well as new engines and aerodynamics, Boeing says the Dreamliner is about 20% more fuel efficient than similarly-sized models flying today.

That would be a big help for airlines coping with the high price of jet fuel, which is usually their biggest single cost.

ANA's chief Shinichiro Ito and Boeing vice-president Scott Fancher broke open barrels of sake with small hammers and passed it around to passengers as they boarded in Tokyo.

The airline auctioned six business-class seats on the inaugural flight, with one selling for $34,000 (£21,200) - about 13 times the price of a regular business-class ticket between the two Asian hubs.

The winner, Gino Bertuccio, won because he accidentally added an extra digit onto his bid - but he was happy regardless, according to the Wall Street Journal.

"Just thinking I'm going to be part of aviation history is a dream," he told the paper.

Another passenger was part of a small group of fliers who try to fly on the first flights of major new planes.

Thomas Lee, a 59-year-old Californian, also flew on the maiden commercial flights of the Boeing 747 in 1970 and the Airbus A380 superjumbo in 2007.


The airline said that net profit in the third quarter rose 31% to $1.1bn, from the same July-September period last year.

It also raised its earnings outlook for the year, as it said that it had 255 net orders during the quarter and 426 during the first nine months of 2011.

"Our improved outlook for earnings reflects confidence in our market positions," said Boeing chairman and president Jim McNerney.

An ANA Dreamliner jet The Dreamliner offers more fuel efficiency through being lighter, says Boeing

But it now expects to deliver 480 planes this year, down from its previous forecast of between 485 and 495 planes.

Boeing plans to make 10 of the Dreamliner planes a month from 2013. But the long delay has hurt its business.

Last week, China Eastern Airlines cancelled orders for 24 Dreamliners, rather than wait for production to pick up.

Boeing has more than 800 orders on its books for the 787 Dreamliner, and the average list price is $201.7m.

Japan, a market in which Boeing dominates rival Airbus, is a major market for the Dreamliner.

ANA will take delivery of dozens more of the aircraft in the coming years.

"For carriers with high operating margins, the 787 is critical for gaining a cost competitiveness," said Masaharu Hirokane, an analyst at Nomura Holding in Tokyo.

A comparison of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A380

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  • rate this

    Comment number 80.

    Airbus answer to the 787 is A350 due for launch.
    Similar aircraft and technology, designed roughly the same time, relies on carbon fibre - something that has been around a while but we all struggled to get the machining correct, it's like glass to machine.
    Now it's perfected by a few companies they have the monopoly. Welcome to the world of aerospace, where military are 20 years ahead of civil.

  • Comment number 79.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    Have Ryanair ordered any?

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    I wish they would tell us of the two planes Airbus or Dreamliner, how much fuel they use per trip. We keep hearing how fuel efficient the dreamliner is but if the airbus can carry twice as many passangers then what is the fuel burned per person?

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    66. Pete_1983
    @ Martin Norman # 50
    "Have you ever flown A380?"

    Not yet, but I have friends who worked on it, and it's a great piece of engineering and I can't to fly in it..

    What I meant was, this aircraft was about making the next generation of aircraft greener, not bigger. A380 is too large for a many airports, I think LAX was one and needs to build to accommodate, just as they did for 737.

  • Comment number 75.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 74.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    powermeerkat (58)

    "behemot A-380 capable of taking you only to a dozen of biggest hubs"

    Not really true, but so what? For round the corner, use your feet. For town centre, use bus. Next town: car. Next country: small aircraft. Trans-Atlantic: big aircraft. Trans-Pacific: MASSIVE aircraft. Each mode of transport is matched to the job it has to do.

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    minutes ago
    12 Minutes ago


    I for one can vouch for redrobb's comment, the UK is the world's No.1 aircraft wing design and manufacture, when I say No.1, I mean light years ahead of any competition, it's 30% of the aircraft, it's what makes it fly, it's the leading technology. What more can I say, be proud to be British. Airbus or Boeing when it comes to wings, thank the UK.

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    Have just swung me on a fool-size glider to the way to our reserve-planet. Hope that I won't get any ideas in the fresh air. Sinonymous? you fly.

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    Re: smaller planes v larger, given take off slots can be limited (LHR), bigger planes make more sense, with more passengers, to me for many routes- rather than smaller planes, and more take-offs? But it depends on your viewpoint and limiting criteria- if you need to spend cash adapting airports, that comes into it of course.

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    Looks a great design. I wish it well, and look forward to going on one.

    I can only agree with #44.

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    OK Now let's see lots of amazing articles about the engines.

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    If you have to compare A-380 with anything, compare it with newest Boeing jumbo: Boeing 747-8I.

    For which no airport needs to expensively rebuilt its taxiways, ramps, and gates.

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    @ Martin Norman # 50
    Have you ever flown A380? customer feedback is overwhelmingly positive, and people dont feel crammed in. A380 also gives +15% fuel efficiency compared to comparable aircraft, and (in part due to the size) has the best passenger/mile cost of any aircraft. More people on aircraft = less operating cost for airline, which SHOULD mean cheaper seats for us.

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    "...just how much more of aircraft is UK origin? I'm guessing not much.....
    at least the UK gets some table scraps if airframe is Airbus......."

    Why do so many people automatically assume the UK is a failure
    at skilled engineering.

    Actually about 25% of the plane by value is made in UK. A fact that some of us are be proud off.

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    The upward-curving wingtips, like the "winglets" on the end of present airliners, are there to break up the wingtip air vortices which happen when the air from underneath the wing meets the faster air flowing over the top, and thereby reduces drag, so less fuel consumption. Also, modern composites are far more stable than early plastics, and more corrosion resistant than aluminium.

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    What is more subtle is that Boeing say it's 20% more efficient than:
    a) "similarly-sized models" (meaning bigger planes like the Airbus A380 are intrinsically more efficient)
    b) "flying today" (meaning better ones may come along, possibly the Airbus A350 XWB in a few years) be VERY CAREFUL interpreting claims of efficiency.

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    yea, just the bright step to do after the cliff has been left behind. And now flexing some sphinks.

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    £6 billion of engines / service from Rolls Royce UK on c.266 of ordered Dreamliners, good news.

    (Re: the A380 I saw a graphic once that suggested more than 50% of the list price can attributed to UK supplied wings and engines- depending on engine version.)


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