A Boeing 787 Dreamliner waggled its wings yesterday in a salute to workers who built the world's first carbon-composite passenger jet as it took off from its factory and headed for Japan at the start a new era of air travel.
The take-off capped a three-day celebration to mark the first 787 delivery to a customer. The light-weight airplane's handover to All Nippon Airways follows a troubled period of development with the programme three years behind schedule.
Many in the aviation world expect the Dreamliner, which provides unprecedented fuel efficiency, to revolutionise commercial flight. Boeing has wrestled for years with delays caused chiefly by problems with a large number of companies that supplied parts.
Now the company faces another monumental task of producing 10 a month by the end of 2013. Boeing currently makes only two a month, and some doubt it can meet that target in two years. The wide-body Dreamliner lists for about $200 million and Boeing has 821 orders, according to its website.