The eyes of the aviation world will be fixed on Boeing Corporation as the US aircraft giant unveiled its â€˜787 Dreamlinerâ€™, the â€œgreenâ€ passenger jet it hopes will revolutionize air travel.
Billed as the most economical and fuel efficient jet, the latest model will soon make its debut in India with top airlines Air India and Jet Airways already having placed orders for 27 and 10 aircraft, respectively.
Air India chairman and managing director, who is here to take part in the roll out of the Dreamliner told reporters the company will be buying 68 passengers jets in all from Boeing, of which 27 will be the Dreamliners.
The mid-sized plane, which seats up to 330 passengers and is capable of flying long haul routes using up to 20% less fuel while pumping out fewer greenhouse gases, was rolled out before a gathering of 300 media members and Top executives of potential buyer Airline companies.
The 787 â€“ Boeingâ€™s first new model in 13 years is scheduled to enter service in 2008 and is being rolled out from Boeingâ€™s Everett facility. Boeing has so far received 642 orders from 46 customers. The first delivery of the Dreamliner will be in May 2008.
In fact, due to more than anticipated demand, Boeing reportedly raised the list price for the plane from the initial $125 million four years ago to about $150 million now.
The new aircraft boasts several revolutionary design features, most notably the use of high-tech plastic composites instead of aluminium. Up to 50% of the primary structure of the plane including the fuselage and wing will be made of composites such as carbon-fiber.
By manufacturing a one piece fuselage section, 1,500 aluminium sheets and 40,000-50,000 fasteners are eliminated which also imparts greater structural strength and drastically reduces the fatigue component. The composites used in the Dreamliner are also stronger and lighter than traditional materials allowing the plane greater fuel efficiency.
The Dreamlinerâ€™s other innovations include greater levels of comfort for passengers, with higher humidity levels within the cabin expected to reduce passenger dehydration. Additionally, these could come at a cheaper price for passengers.
After all, lower fuel-costs could, in theory, lead to cheaper long-haul travel, aviation industry analysts say. The Dreamliner was poised to revolutionize air travel if its projected rates of fuel-efficiency proved accurate.
Looking at it from an airline stand point Airlines have to consider 787 as their best choice. If an airline donâ€™t have a 787 class aircraft and a competitor does, he can under price and out-profit the other subject to the fuel efficiency factor in actual practice proves right..
One canâ€™t be sure of their performance objectives but if it does what they say, itâ€™s revolutionary both in terms of the planeâ€™s operating economics and durability.
According to some aviation experts this is the next evolutionary step in aviation. Itâ€™s a game changer for its manufacturing and assembly process and will probably be mimicked by succeeding airplanes.