Seattle, Wa. -
The FAA and the EASA both granted the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner flight certifications in a ceremony at Paine Field in Everett, Washington, where Boeing manufactures the 787. The 787 has undergone long delays and cost overruns stemming from union strikes, contractor supply problems and wiring re-designs.
But all that's been fixed, either by making it right or building a second airplane factory in South Carolina, which is still embroiled in debate.
The launch customer for the 787 is ANA and they will take delivery of their first 787 on Sept 28. Boeing is also ramping up production, with 58 in production; 46 of those are close to being completed.
Including cancellations related to delays, Boeing still has 827 orders for the plane, ensuring its viability and profitability even with cost overruns. Estimates for the total production over time range from 1,500 to 2,500. If Boeing sells as many as it makes, the 787 will be one of the most sold planes ever.
The 787 is made from composite materials making the plane much lighter than a traditional airliner, with more efficient power production and thrust, both adding to the overall fuel efficiency of the plane. Its range will be the longest of any plane in production, reaching over 10,000 miles non-stop. Airlines have said they like this plane because, thanks to the 787's efficiency, it allows them to open new routes with smaller passenger loads that previously would have been unprofitable.
The new plane also comes with a totally redesigned interior, and permits higher humidity with less pressurization, allowing for improved passenger comfort.
Airbus's rival to the 787 is the A350xwb and is not slated to enter service until at least 2015 or 2016, giving Boeing several years of flight performance to be put up against the untested A350xwb.