Carbon airliner with a small footprint readied for take-off to Britain

A A A

Shortly after 9am on Sunday, a new chapter will begin in European aviation history when flight ZA003 touches down in Hampshire and heralds the arrival of the much-anticipated – and greatly-delayed – Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the world's first airliner to be largely built from carbon fibre.

The first Boeing 787 to leave American soil will arrive at the Farnborough International Air Show this weekend for a three-day international debut to display the aircraft that the US aviation giant insists represents a quantum leap in aircraft technology by abandoning the traditional method of building a passenger jet out of sheets of riveted aluminium.

Along with a raft of innovations that includes distinctive jagged cowlings that look as if the engines have been trimmed by pinking shears, the lightweight materials are claimed by Boeing to make the new plane one of the most eco-friendly ever produced, burning 20 per cent less fuel than its rival equivalents. Despite a troubled history of logistical and technical problems which means it will enter service some two years behind schedule, the 787 has become the fastest-selling wide-bodied jet in history, with more than 860 on order to airlines including Virgin Atlantic and British Airways. All Nippon Airways (ANA) will be the first airline to receive the jet when deliveries begin at the end of this year.

The Farnborough show is one of the aviation industry's most important annual jamborees, providing Boeing and its European rival, Airbus, with the opportunity to stage a beauty contest between their two flagship products – the 787 and the A380 "superjumbo" – as each company seeks to ratchet up sales in the aftermath of the recession.

Tom Downey of Boeing said: "We've chosen Farnborough as a venue for spotlighting the breakthrough capabilities and innovations of our commercial airplanes. We look forward to an optimistic mood this year as industry leaders meet amid signs of economic recovery."

Built from layers of carbon fibre sandwiched around a mould and then heated to create a super-strong fuselage, the Dreamliner breaks new ground in aviation by being half-built from hi-tech composites which Boeing claims are more robust than metal and do not suffer from the problems of metal fatigue produced by aluminium airframes. As a result, the 787 – which can carry between 210 and 330 people – has bigger windows than conventional jets and the cabin can be pressurised to a higher level, increasing passenger comfort.

Once flight ZA003 comes to a halt on Farnborough's vast airfield, a select few will be able examine the interior of the plane for themselves. Boeing has kitted out the test aircraft with 30 rows of seating to show off the interior to industry executives and the media.

Anyone sufficiently impressed to buy a 787 will need $161m (£104m) to secure the entry-level model.

Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas