Boeing unveils the 787 and signs more orders

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On 8th July (7/8/07) Boeing showed the world its first new aircraft since the 777.
An estimated 15,000 people attended the premiere at the Everett, WA, final assembly factory. Boeing said that more than 30,000 participated via two-way satellite links into the event in Everett from Japan, Italy and locations in the US, while it potentially reached 100 million or more viewers, making it one of the largest corporate TV and Internet broadcasts in history.
“The 787 is the son of the Sonic Cruiser,” Mike Bair, Boeing’s senior vice president 787 programme said.
“This has been a wonderful and exciting day to celebrate this breakthrough aircraft with our customers, employees, supplier partners and our communities,” said Scott Carson, Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ president and CEO. “We are gratified that the 787 has been so strongly validated in the marketplace by our customers,” he continued.
In the build-up to the event, Boeing continued to announce new orders for the 787 Dreamliner.
Qantas released that it will buy 20 additional 787-9 Dreamliners plus options. Qantas is a key 787 customer with 45 Dreamliners currently on order.
ALAFCO signed a contract for 10 more 787-8 Dreamliners. This announcement built on an order for 12 787s ALAFCO announced in March 2007. ALAFCO has placed its first 12 787s with Kuwait Airways.
CIT Aerospace doubled its Dreamliner order by ordering five more aircraft.
Boeing received the single largest European Dreamliner order with Air Berlin committing for 25 787-8 aircraft in a deal valued at $4bn at list prices. On top of the 25 orders, Air Berlin is securing 10 options and 15 purchase rights for additional 787s.
At the time of the unveiling, the programme has won 47 customers with 677 orders since its launch in April 2004. Overall, the 787 Dreamliner order book is valued at more than $110bn at current list prices, making the Dreamliner the most successful commercial aircraft launch in history.
The first 787 is scheduled to enter passenger service in May 2008.
Since then, the LAN Airlines’ announcement of 26 orders for the 787 Dreamliner takes the programme to 700 orders and commitments.
Boeing now has firm orders, options and proposals with potential customers for more than 2,000, according to Bair. Of these, an estimated 517 are 787-8 models, 43 are 787-3 models, 112 are 787-9 models and five are undecided.
On the 787-10, Bair is confident the manufacturer can reach its range target of similar to or better than the 777-200ER. “Right now we are 700nm short of that but I am confident we can meet the target” via a weight reduction programme, he claimed. Boeing is not going to increase the MTOW, which would require a heaver six-wheel undercarriage.
He explained that the 787-8 was on target for its weight guarantees but the manufacturer has found ways to re-engineer the design to reduce weight. The 787-10 now is proposed as a 50-seat stretch over the 787-9 and he said the -10 programme has slipped somewhat because of commercial pressure for 787-8s and -9s.
Bair said the Rolls-Royce and GE engines for the 787 are “performing flawlessly” and described the fit of 787 components as “outstanding”. He noted that Boeing installed the first engine pylon in 2 hours “to make sure we knew what we were doing” but the second pylon “took 12 minutes”.
The first 787 is structurally complete, although he conceded there will be some systems to be added after the 8th July rollout. He agreed there have been some delays, but “we have worked around them” and the overall production schedule has not been affected.