The Boeing 787, or Dreamliner, is a mid-sized passenger airliner currently under
development by Boeing Commercial Airplanes and scheduled to enter service in 2008.
It will carry between 200 and 350 passengers depending on the seating
configuration, and be more fuel-efficient than earlier airliners. In addition,
it will be the first major airliner to use composite material in the majority
of its construction.
Prior to January 28, 2005, the 787 was known as the developmental designator
7E7. On April 26, 2005, one year to the day after the launch of the program,
the final look of the external 787 design was frozen.
When 767 sales began to weaken in the face of competition from the Airbus
A330-200 in the late 1990s, Boeing began to consider replacement aircraft.
As the 747-400 was also beginning to lose traction, the company began to consider
two new projects the Boeing Sonic Cruiser and the 747X.
The Sonic Cruiser was intended to achieve higher speeds (approximately Mach 0.98)
while burning fuel at the same rate as the existing 767 and A330 products. The
747X, intended to compete with the Airbus A380, would stretch the 747-400 and
give it a composite supercritical wing to improve efficiency. The limited
potential market for superjumbos was an issue, however; the earlier Douglas
DC-10 and Lockheed L-1011 widebodies split of a similarly limited market drove
both companies out of their strong positions in the commercial aircraft market.
Market interest for the 747X was tepid; the Sonic Cruiser had brighter prospects
Several major airlines, primarily in the United States, voiced their optimism
for the concept. By decreasing travel time, they would be able to increase
customer satisfaction and aircraft utilization.
When the September 11, 2001 attacks occurred, the global airline market was
upended. The worst-affected airlines were in the United States those same
airlines were the primary proponents of the Sonic Cruiser. Airlines were not
able to justify large capital expenditures, and due to increased petroleum prices,
were more interested in efficiency than speed. Boeing proceeded to offer airlines
the option of using the airframe for either higher speed or increased efficiency.
Due to high projected airframe costs, demand continued to evaporate. Eventually,
Boeing switched tacks and decided to offer an alternative project, at the same
time cancelling the 747X.
The replacement for the Sonic Cruiser project was dubbed the 7E7. The "E" was
said to stand for various things, depending upon the audience. To some, it stood
for "efficiency," to others it stood for "environmentally friendly," etc. In the
end, Boeing claimed it merely stood for "Eight," after the aircraft was
eventually rechristened "787" when several Chinese airlines ordered the product,
as eight is a lucky number in Chinese numerology.
The 787 essentially uses the technology proposed for the Sonic Cruiser in a
more conventional airframe configuration (see Features). Boeing claims that the
787 will be up to 20% more fuel-efficient than current comparable aircraft.
Roughly one-third of this efficiency improvement will come from the engines;
another third from aerodynamic improvements and the increased use of lighter
weight composite materials; and the rest from advanced systems. The most notable
system advancement contributing to efficiency is a "more electric architecture"
which replaces bleed air and hydraulic power with electrically powered compressors
On December 16, 2003, Boeing announced assembly would take place in Everett,
Washington, employing 800 to 1,200 people.
On April 6, 2004, Boeing announced that it had selected two engine types, the
General Electric (GE) GEnx and Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 to power the 787.
Significantly, this leaves Pratt & Whitney unable to offer one of their
own engines to 787 customers. Boeing may have wished to rely on two evolved
versions of existing engines rather than the higher-risk option of an all new
Pratt & Whitney engine, particularly in light of Pratt & Whitney's recent failures
in the Regional Jet market and failed PW6000 engine for the A318.
For the first time in commercial aviation, both engine types will have a
standard interface with the aircraft, allowing any 787 to be fitted with either
a GE or Rolls-Royce engine at any time. Engine interchangeability makes the 787
a far more flexible asset to airlines, allowing them to change from one
manufacturer's engine to the other's in light of any future engine developments
which conform more closely to their operating profile. The engine market for the
787 is estimated $40 billion USD over the next 25 years.
The launch of a new airliner can be expected to draw scathing comments from
competitors, Boeing's doubt over the A380 and Airbus' mocking of the Sonic
Cruiser being recent examples. The 787 is no exception, as Airbus' John Leahy
has made attempts at refuting all of Boeing's claims, openly criticizing the
large-scale use of composites in the 787's fuselage as being "rushed and
ridiculous". Boeing's response is that the technology has already been well-proven
on military aircraft. Airbus recently offered the competing A350 using the
same turbofans developed for the 787, modified to generate bleed air. This
proposed new jet will make widespread use of lightweight materials  and as
of June 24, 2005 had 125 commitments from five airlines and two leasing
On April 26, 2004, the Japanese airline All Nippon Airways (ANA) became the
launch customer for the 787, then still-known as the 7E7, announcing a firm
order for 50 aircraft to be delivered beginning in 2008. The order is valued
at roughly $6 billion and represents the largest ever single launch order for
a new Boeing jetliner, as well as illustrating market acceptance of the concept.
ANA will buy thirty 787-3, 300 seat, one-class aircraft for the domestic market,
and twenty 787-8, long-haul, 230 seat, two-class aircraft for international
routes such as Tokyo Narita-Los Angeles. The aircraft will allow new routes
to be opened to minor cities not previously served, such as to Denver.
On June 28, 2004, Air New Zealand (ANZ) became the second 787 customer,
announcing a firm order for two aircraft and options on 16 more. This unusual
arrangement was likely precipitated by ANZ's perception that they needed to
secure their delivery slots, far in advance. The aircraft will be used to develop
new international routes and increase frequency on existing routes. ANZ was the
first airline to announce which powerplant would power their aircraft,
selecting the Trent in June 2004.
Blue Panorama of Italy and First Choice Airways of the United Kingdom placed
orders for four and six examples, respectively, of the 787-8 on July 7, 2004.
Primaris Airlines (run by several prominent industry veterans), which caters to
business customers in the same vein as Switzerland's PrivatAir, placed an order
on October 21, 2004 for 20 787s and options for 15 more. The Primaris order
represents the first American customer for the aircraft. On December 22, 2004,
Japan Airlines ordered 30 787s with 20 options for close to $4 billion, and on
December 29 of the same year, Continental announced an order for 10 787 airframes.
On December 31, 2004, Vietnam Airlines became the eighth airline to signal its
intent to buy the 787, with an order for four jets. This was followed on January
28, 2005 with an order from China Aviation Supplies Import & Export Corporation
for 60 787s, which will be distributed among six Chinese state-owned airlines.
Each airline will have its first 787 in service prior to the 2008 Summer
Olympics in Beijing.
On April 25, 2005, Air Canada, fresh out of bankruptcy, placed 18 firm orders
for the Boeing 787 with options for 60 more, as well as 18 firm orders for the
Boeing 777. Air Canada cited the 787's increased efficiency over the Boeing 767,
Airbus A330. The airline subsequently cancelled the orders on June 18, 2005,
after failing to agree a package of cost-saving measures with its pilots.
On April 26, 2005, Air India placed a very large ($6.9B) order for a number
of Boeing jets, including eight 777-200LR ultra-long-range aircraft, 15 777-300ER
aircraft and 27 787 long-range aircraft. As of the 26th of April, 2005 this
order was still subject to government approval.
The 787 is currently being sold in three variants:
-The 787-3 will be a 296 seat (two class) short-range version targeted
at high density flights, with a range of 3,500 nautical miles (6,500 km).
EIS is 2010.
-The 787-8 will be the "baseline" model, with 223 seats in three
classes and a range of 8,500 nautical miles (15,700 km). EIS is
-The 787-9 will be a stretched variant, seating 259 in three classes.
The targeted EIS is set at 2010
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Boeing 787".