Boeing’s Dreamliner finally flies passengers

Boeing's 787 Dreamliner at Narita airport east of Tokyo before its first commercial flight.


TOKYO–Boeing’s long-delayed 787 Dreamliner jet finally began commercial service here today, taking off from Tokyo’s Narita airport at 12:42 p.m. on a charter flight to Hong Kong with some 230 passengers.

Operator All Nippon Airways (ANA) will have seven Dreamliners in its fleet by the end of December, ANA President Shinichiro Ito told those attending a press conference marking the event, which included a ceremonial breaking of a barrel of sake.

After receipt in September, ANA is the first airline to operate the plane, billed as the first to be made mostly of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic. ANA will start regular 787 services November 1, linking Tokyo with regional Japanese cities Okayama and Hiroshima, and long-haul Europe services with a flight to Frankfurt on January 21.

Boeing has called the much-ballyhooed Dreamliner “the first all-new airplane of the 21st century.” It’s supposed to use up to 20 percent less fuel than earlier generations of Boeing jets because about half of its main structure is made of composite materials.

Japanese companies are heavily invested in the plane, providing about one-third of its parts. Toray Industries supplied the carbon fiber for the 787… [Read more]

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