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Boeing 787

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a long-range, mid-size wide-body, twin-engine jet airliner developed by Boeing Commercial Airplanes.


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.  The 787 consumes 20% less fuel than the similarly-sized Boeing 767.  Some of its distinguishing features include a four-panel windshield, noise-reducing chevrons on its engine nacelles, and a smoother nose contour.
The aircraft's initial designation was 7E7, prior to its renaming in January 2005.  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.  By June 2011, 827 Boeing 787s had been ordered by 59 customers, with ILFC having the largest number on order.

The 787 development and production has involved a large-scale collaboration with numerous suppliers around the globe.  Final assembly is at the Boeing Everett Factory in Everett, Washington.  Aircraft will also be assembled at a new factory in North Charleston, South Carolina.  Both sites will deliver 787s to airline customers.  Originally planned to enter service in May 2008, the project has suffered from repeated delays and is now more than three years behind schedule.  The airliner's maiden flight took place on December 15, 2009, and completed flight testing in mid-2011.  Final Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency certification was received in late August 2011 and the first model was first delivered on September 25, 2011.

During the late 1990s, Boeing began considering replacement aircraft programs as sales for the 767 and Boeing 747-400 slowed.  The company proposed two new aircraft, the 747X, which would have lengthened the 747-400 and improved efficiency, and the Sonic Cruiser, which would have achieved 15% higher speeds (approximately Mach 0.98) while burning fuel at the same rate as the existing 767.  Market interest for the 747X was tepid, but the Sonic Cruiser had brighter prospects.  Several major airlines in the United States, including Continental Airlines, initially showed enthusiasm for the Sonic Cruiser concept, although they also expressed concerns about the operating cost.

The global airline market was upended by the September 11, 2001 attacks and increased petroleum prices, making airlines more interested in efficiency than speed.  The worst-affected airlines, those in the United States, had been considered the most likely customers of the Sonic Cruiser, and thus Boeing officially canceled the Sonic Cruiser on December 20, 2002.  Switching tracks, the company announced an alternative product using Sonic Cruiser technology in a more conventional configuration, the 7E7, on January 29, 2003.  The emphasis on a smaller midsize twinjet rather than a large 747-size aircraft represented a shift from hub-and-spoke theory towards the point-to-point theory, in response to analysis of focus groups.

The replacement for the Sonic Cruiser project was dubbed the "7E7" (with a development code name of "Y2").  Technology from the Sonic Cruiser and 7E7 was to be used as part of Boeing's project to replace its entire airliner product line, an endeavor called the Yellowstone Project (of which the 7E7 became the first stage).  Early concept images of the 7E7 included rakish cockpit windows, a dropped nose and a distinctive "shark-fin" tail.  The "E" was said to stand for various things, such as "efficiency" or "environmentally friendly"; however, in the end, Boeing claimed that it stood merely for "Eight".  In July 2003, a public naming competition was held for the 7E7, for which out of 500,000 votes cast online the winning title was Dreamliner.  Other names in the pool included eLiner, Global Cruiser and Stratoclimber.

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