Long-Delayed Boeing 787 Debuts at Air Show


Image: Dave Sizer/Flickr

After a more than two-year production delay, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner made its international debut at Britain’s Farmborough International Air Show. The BBC has more:

Boeing’s flagship aircraft is different from conventional aircraft, having been built largely out of light-weight composite material. When it was first conceived, the Dreamliner was a revolutionary concept, but rivals have since done much to catch up.

Airbus is building a similar series of planes dubbed A350, while newcomers in Russia and China are gearing up to enter the fast-growing market for single-aisle aircraft.

Optimism about the Dreamliner’s performance in the market is mirrored by high hopes of a revival in the fortunes of the civilian aviation industry. During the past two years, airlines in difficulty have held back from ordering new planes, though production schedules have been largely unaffected as aircraft manufacturers have order books stretching several years into the future.

Industry watchers are also waiting for announcements from the world’s leading airplane makers about whether and when they will update their best-selling but ageing Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 series of planes. Airbus will also announce its decision after the middle of September…hinting that it would probably fit its A320 jets with engines that should help it deliver fuel savings and thus emission cuts of about 15% from 2015.

This is the first time that Boeing has had a new plane at a show since the early 1990s, the BBC quotes Boeing CEO Jim Albaugh as saying.

Reuters has more on industry expectations at the show:

Boeing could grab a $5 billion (3.3 billion pound) order from Emirates for 20 777 big passenger jets and aviation industry sources said they expected its European rival Airbus to chalk up sales of its A320 single-aisle aircraft even as it considers upgrading it.

The orders are part of a tentative upswing in civil aircraft demand, driven mainly by emerging markets and low-cost carriers.

Commercial sales look more promising given double-digit growth in air traffic, but lingering concerns about the broader economy are keeping many analysts cautious.