Amidst curious onlookers and great expectations, Boeing’s newest addition to its fleet in almost 15 years, the 787 Dreamliner, touched down in Britain on Sunday at the Farnborough International Airshow.
The first transcontinental flight for the new model, the Dreamliner’s long-anticipated European debut comes after almost three years of delays.
Strikes, funding problems and years of extensive testing grounded the Dreamliner’s planned 2007 unveiling, but Boeing says it could deliver the first planes to airlines by the end of this year.
The breakthrough carbon-composite plane is already building buzz at the Farnborough International Airshow, the airline industry’s premier event.
The airshow, which will run from July 19 to July 25 in Hampshire, England, is used to demonstrate both civilian and military aircraft to potential customers and investors.
For an inside look at the Dreamliner’s production, check out From the Boeing Factory Tour to the Sky.
This year, Farnborough will be attended by more than 1,000 exhibitors from 38 countries, with delegations from Egypt, Taiwan and Morocco attending for the first time.
Analysts are looking to Farnborough to gauge the health of the airline industry, and many are hoping the arrival of the Dreamliner will turn the tide on the two-year downturn in the aviation and defense industry.
Boeing, however, is downplaying the likelihood of big deals at Farnborough, saying it does not save up orders for international shows.
New orders for commercial aircraft are likely to be better than in 2009, but nowhere near the record-breaking $88.7 billion in orders announced at Farnborough in 2008.
The International Air Transport Association based in Geneva has predicted that industry profits will reach a conservative $2.5 billion this year.
Most of the purchases will come from strong emerging markets in the Middle East and Asia. Among the most likely buyers at the show is Emirates, an airline which has long been rumored to be preparing to make a substantial deal at Farnborough.
And today Emirates, which already has the world’s biggest fleet of Boeing 777s, announced that it would be purchasing 30 new Boeing 777-300ER planes, an order worth over $9 billion. Upon delivery, Emirates would have 101 Boeing 777 planes in its fleet.
Regardless of sales, Boeing is grabbing the limelight with the debut of the fuel-efficient 787 Dreamliner. Composed of mostly lightweight composite materials, Boeing claims the Dreamliner can cut fuel costs by as much as 20 percent.
According to Boeing, the Dreamliner will be cleaner, more efficient and produce fewer emissions. For passengers, a more fuel-efficient plane could mean cheaper flights.
Now, all that remains is for the airlines to get onboard.
By Adriana Padilla at PeterGreenberg.com.
Related Links at PeterGreenberg.com:
- Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner Makes Much-Awaited Test Flight
- From the Boeing Factory Tour to the Sky
- Boeing 787 Dreamliner Delayed Again
- Boeing Strikes Near End
- Boeing Hopes to Buy Its Way to Greater Efficiency, Purchases Troubled Supplier
- Travel Detective Blog: Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner & Free Wi-Fi
- Air Travel: Airlines & Airports section