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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Boeing 737 Dreamliner’s maiden commercial flight : Haneda – Hongkong.

Innovations are what keeps One above their competitors and ‘plastic jet’ is one.

When we celebrated Deepavali in our backyards, (on Oct 26, 2011) something remarkable occurred elsewhere in Japan– the Boeing 787 flew its first commercial flight from Haneda to Hongkong.  .  The first 787 was officially delivered to launch customer All Nippon Airways in September 2011 and now is the first commercial flight.  Handea Airport is more better known as  Tokyo International Airport .  Tokyo has   airports  and Haneda is in Ōta, Tokyo, 14 km  south of Tokyo Station.  Haneda handles almost all domestic flights to and from Tokyo, while Narita International Airport handles the vast majority of international flights.  The inaugural flight was on air much later than the original plans – 3 years later. The airline  had auctioned six business-class seats on the inaugural flight, with one selling for $34,000 (£21,200) - about 13 times the price of a regular business-class ticket between the two Asian hubs.
The specialty was it was a Boeing 787 Dreamliner – a  long-range, mid-size wide-body, twin-engine jet airliner developed by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. The first 787 was unveiled in a roll-out ceremony on July 8, 2007, at Boeing's Everett assembly factory, by which time it had become the fastest-selling wide-body airliner in history with 677 orders.  It seats 210 to 290 passengers, depending on the variant. Boeing states that it is the company's most fuel-efficient airliner and the world's first major airliner to use composite materials for most of its construction.  It is claimed that  787 consumes 20% less fuel than the similarly-sized Boeing 767.    The 787 was designed to become the first production composite airliner, with the fuselage assembled in one-piece composite barrel sections instead of the multiple aluminum sheets and some 50,000 fasteners used on existing aircraft.  Industry reports state that Boeing initially priced the 787-8 variant at US$120 million, a low figure that surprised the industry but the reports were raised subsequently
It flew for All Nippon Airways Co Ltd (also known as Zennikku) one of the largest airlines of Japan, headquartered  at Shiodome City Center,  Minato, Tokyo, Japan. It operates services to 49 destinations in Japan and 35 international routes.  It has some regional airlines of which Air Next is  a low-cost carrier.   The  new aircraft would allow All Nippon Airways to open new routes to cities not previously served, such as Denver, Moscow, and New Delhi.   All Nippon Airways launched the 787 Dreamliner program with an order for 50 aircraft in 2004.
The Wednesday’s flight (26th Oct 11)  was a special charter and the normal services are to start next month.   Because of the materials used in construction - carbon fibre rather than aluminium - as well as new engines and aerodynamics, it is claimed to be more fuel efficient than similarly-sized models flying today.  That would be a big help for airlines coping with the high price of jet fuel, which is usually their biggest single cost.  ANA's chief Shinichiro Ito and Boeing vice-president Scott Fancher broke open barrels of sake with small hammers and passed it around to passengers as they boarded in Tokyo.  The plane has bigger windows, wider seats and aisles less.  The cabin hosts specially modified levels of air pressure and humidity to help avoid the headaches and nausea that can accompany a long-haul flight. The 787 also boasts 60 per cent lower noise levels and comes with anti-turbulence systems and even an advanced air-filtration system to eliminate unwanted odours. The overhead compartments are 30 per cent bigger than those on the Boeing 777, and comfortably take a suitcase.  Some technical specs are given as :
Seats: 210 to 250. ; Range: 8,800 to 9,400 miles. ; Wingspan: 197 feet. ; Length: 186 feet.; Height: 56 feet. ; Cruise speed: Mach 0.85, about 650 mph. ; Cargo volume: 4,400 cubic feet. ; Maximum takeoff weight: 502,500 pounds.; Engines: Rolls Royce or General Electric.
Boeing 737 has many orders in the pipeline and it is reported that  Thomson Holidays expects 12 in 2012; British Airways expects first of its 24 in 2013, Virgin Atlantic expects first of 15 in 2014.
Remember that I had posted in July 11 of the dreamliner landing at Delhi.  To read that post click :  here
On 13th July 2011,  American aircraft manufacturer Boeing's most-anticipated passenger jet - the 787 Dreamliner aircraft - landed in the Capital on its maiden visit  - for demo trials to Air India.  It was received with a water cannon salute at that time.    

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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