Travel Log: Looking at the Future

July 19, 2011

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner, believed to be the most advanced passenger aircraft ever built, was greeted with a water salute after landing in New Delhi following a nine hour flight from Japan recently.

The aircraft was flown by a woman, test pilot Heather Ross. She flew the plane across the United States, to Iceland and then on to Japan.

This is the aircraft which will be used to fly travelers transiting between Boston and Japan by Japan Airlines when they start up new service to Asia from Boston next year.

JAL two months ago announced a major investment they will be making in the Boston-Asia marketplace.

Massport officials estimate the value of that investment at $300 million.

Boeing claims the Dreamliner will be 20 per cent more fuel-efficient.

The aircraft can carry between 210 and 290 passengers.

It can fly between 8,000 and 8,500 nautical miles.

In the case of Air India, the Boeing 787’s it has ordered will carry  256 passengers, 18 in Business class and 238 in Economy.

Boeing officials have said that the 787 will have the best interiors of any plane flying. In addition, the plane is lighter than similarly sized craft now flying.

For instance, the Boeing 777’s fuselage is made up of 20 per cent composites and 50 per cent aluminum.

The 787 is made up of 50 per cent composites. Boeing officials claim this provides an edge of 10 per cent better cash per seat per mile costs as compared with other ailines.

With jet fuel prices continuing to skyrocket, most major airlines will be looking for aircraft that are more fuel efficient and cost efficient.

India Airlines has ordered 27 Dreamliners. As a result, IA will be able to mount direct non-stop flights to North America and Australia.

Boeing says Dreamliners offer an improved flying experience for travelers.

Its cabin is pressurized at 6,000 feet as compared with 7,000 feet with nearly all other aircraft. Boeing says lowering cabin altitude causes less fatigue to travelers.

In addition, the 787 has humidity control and an air purification system that spare passengers throat and eye irritation, headaches and dizziness.

The new airliner is propelled by General Electric-Rolls designed engines.

To this point in time, Boeing has taken orders from 56 customers from six continents of the world for 835 airplanes valued at $162 billion.