Boeing Dreamliner Leaves Japan on First Commercial Flight

Posted October 26th, 2011 at 2:05 am (UTC-5)
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Boeing's long-awaited 7878 Dreamliner took off from Tokyo Wednesday on its first commercial flight, more than three years after the revolutionary aircraft had been scheduled to go into service.

About 100 passengers paid premium prices to be on board for history-making flight to Hong Kong, with many scheduled to come home on the return flight Thursday.

The plane's unique design, which uses lightweight composite materials to make it more fuel efficient, contributed to huge cost overruns and years of delays in getting the plane in the air. But All Nippon Airways co-pilot Masami Tsukamoto said it was worth the wait.

The plane has several features intended to make air travel more enjoyable for passengers, including larger windows and luggage bins and improved climate control.

But for airline executives, the most important feature is the improved fuel efficiency, which makes it practical to use the 330-seat jet on long-haul routes previously reserved for larger planes.

ANA President Shinichiro Ito said that makes the plane a game-changer in the aviation industry.

He said the plane will be used on international routes to the United States and Europe that were not possible in the past.

Boeing says it has received more than 800 orders for the aircraft, making it the fastest-selling twin-aisle airplane ever built.

ANA is expecting to receive 11 more 787s by the end of this year.