Planemaker Boeing today unveiled its new ‘green’ 787 Dreamliner aircraft powered by Rolls-Royce engines.
Displayed at a glittering ceremony at Boeing’s headquarters in Washington state, USA, the 250-seat plane will fly for the first time this autumn and will go into passenger service in May 2008.
With Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines, the Dreamliner is 25 per cent British-made.
Customers include Sir Richard Branson’s airline Virgin Atlantic, which has ordered 15 Dreamliners, and the UK’s First Choice Airways, which is taking 12.
All told, 46 customers worldwide have ordered 642 Dreamliners, with the plane having a list price of around £80 million.
Boeing boasts that the plane will use 20 per cent less fuel per passenger than similarly-sized aircraft, will produce fewer carbon emissions and will have quieter take-offs and landings.
Sir Roger Bone, president of Boeing UK, said: ‘British industry is fundamental to the success of the 787 Dreamliner.
‘Boeing has a long-standing and successful partnership with Britain stretching back some 70 years. In Britain we find the technology and expertise we need to be successful.
‘We are investing heavily not just in our suppliers but high-end research and development with UK companies and universities, enhancing skills and improving industrial processes for the long-term. Every year Boeing invests up to 3 billion dollars (about £1.5 billion) in the UK economy and independent analysis estimates this supports up to 40,000 jobs across the country.’
Dominic Horwood, director of Boeing programmes at Rolls-Royce, said: ‘We’re extremely proud that the Trent 1000 is the first engine to be seen on this great new aircraft.
‘As lead engine, we are setting the pace on the programme and we can’t wait to see the Trent 1000 power the 787’s maiden flight later in the year.’
Long haul travel
UK holiday airline Thomsonfly, whose parent company Tui has ordered 11 Dreamliners, said the range the plane could achieve would change the face of long-haul travel in the future, enabling Thomson to offer holidays in distant destinations without the need to touch down and re-fuel.
Thomsonfly commercial director Guy Stephenson said: ‘This new aeroplane will open up a world of destinations that can be accessed by a single flight from the UK.
‘Congratulations and thanks to Boeing for creating this new aircraft which has significant benefits for the travelling public, destinations worldwide and the environment.’
The planes for Tui are due to be delivered between 2010 and 2013.
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