New 'greener' plane to be delivered


UK airlines have welcomed the much-delayed arrival of Boeing's new "green" plane - the 787 Dreamliner.

Extremely fuel-efficient with an on-board atmosphere designed to cut down on jetlag, the Dreamliner has been so beset by production difficulties that it has fallen three years behind schedule.

But, finally, the first Dreamliner to be delivered was due to fly from Boeing's headquarters in Seattle, in the US, to Japan today to join the fleet of Japanese carrier ANA.

ANA will operate the 787's first passenger flight - from Tokyo to Hong Kong - at the end of next month.

A number of UK airlines have had long waits for their Dreamliners while Boeing has battled to bring the hi-tech plane into service.

Thomson Holidays is taking delivery of 11 Dreamliners, starting from next year, while British Airways has ordered 24, with the first due to arrive in 2013.

Sir Richard Branson's airline, Virgin Atlantic, will take delivery of the first of 15 Dreamliners in spring 2014.

While it has been waiting for its Boeing 787s, BA has taken delivery of three Boeing 777-300s, with three more due to arrive later. BA sees the Dreamliner as a replacement for its Boeing 767s.

Virgin said its Dreamliners would replace its Airbus A340s.

Around 25% of the Boeing 787 is UK-made, with ANA's first Dreamliner being powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines.

Boeing boasts that its new plane is "more fuel-efficient and provides lower operating costs".

It says: "Passengers will appreciate the cleaner cabin air, higher humidity and lower cabin altitude that combine to help them feel more refreshed after flying on the 787."

BA and Virgin Atlantic will both be using Rolls-Royce engines to power their Dreamliners.

Other carriers that have chosen Rolls-Royce engines for their 787s include Air China, Air New Zealand and Delta.

At take off each of the Trent 1000's 66 high-pressure turbine blades generates the same power as produced by a Formula One racing car.

Temperatures inside the hottest parts of the engine are around half as hot as the surface of the sun.

Rolls-Royce civil aerospace president Mark King said today: "We are very proud to power the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, an aircraft that represents a quantum leap in technology over the generation of airliners it will replace.

"It marks the beginning of a new era of cleaner and more-efficient airliners and all of us at Rolls-Royce would like to congratulate Boeing and ANA on this major milestone for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner."