First British Airways Boeing 787 Build Begins

Image of British Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

Image of British Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

Build begins on first British Airways 787 Dreamliner

The building of the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner for British Airways has begun as part of a program to modernize the fleet. The carrier is currently refurbishing its Boeing 767 and Boeing 777-200 aircraft, but they have the mammoth double-decker A380 on the way and this first Dreamliner is expected to join the fleet next year.

British Airways has ordered 24 of Boeing’s “game-changing” aircraft, as well as 12 Airbus A380 ‘superjumbos’, making them the first in Europe to have both aircraft types within its fleet.

Keith Williams, British Airways’ chief executive, said, “This is an exciting first step to welcoming the first of our Boeing 787s into the British Airways fleet. The Dreamliner, with its lightweight composite construction, is truly radical. It marks a new era in British Airways as we take delivery of a new generation of stylish and fuel efficient aircraft bringing even better service to our customers.”

Williams added, “These revolutionary aircraft, form part of a £5bn investment by British Airways in new aircraft, smarter cabins, elegant lounges, and new technologies to make life more comfortable in the air – and on the ground.”

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Creature Comforts

The composite materials make this aircraft a true game changer, but you’ll find the aircraft is a good neighbor and also provides a quieter ride. The aircraft is similar in size to the Boeing 767, but landing noise is only a quarter of the 767 and the aircraft has a 38% greater range.

Upon boarding most will initially notice the large windows — the largest of any commercial aircraft and controlled by electronic dimmable window shades. Aside from the spacious cabin and large overhead bins, there is one big difference you’ll notice once you get underway on a long-haul journey – pressurization.

The 787 Dreamliner is pressurized at 6,000 ft instead of 8,000 ft, which provides additional humidity and reduces jetlag.

Finally, if you don’t like turbulence, you’ll be pleased to know the 787 Dreamliner is equipped with Anti-turbulence technology, for a smoother flight.

The Building of the 787 and Unique Firsts

Unlike traditional aircraft, made primarily from aluminum, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner uses a lighter composite skin made of carbon fiber. The fuselage sections are ‘baked’ in a large oven creating a strong, lightweight material.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner – Aircraft of the World

A large majority of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is built by suppliers outside of the United States, nearly 65% to be precise. The parts are delivered to the two assembly lines, one in Seattle and the other in Charleston, South Carolina, and is joined for final assembly using thousands of fasteners, opposed to the nearly one million rivets used to build the tradition Boeing 747.

The first part of the 787 to be built, half constructed of composite materials, is the mid forward fuselage, which is built in Japan.

British suppliers include the aircraft landing gear while the plane is powered by Trent 1000 engines, made by Derbyshire-based Rolls-Royce. At this time, the other engine option is the General Electric GEnx-1B.

The center wing box, main landing gear wheel well, wings and fixed trailing edge are made in Japan, while the horizontal stabilizer is made in Italy, the wing’s moveable trailing edge in Australia and landing gear in the UK. the aft and forward fuselage (including the flightdeck), as well as the engine nacelles are built in the US.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner and A380 Delivery Preparation

British Airways has special teams working behind the scenes to prepare for both the 787 Dreamliner and the A380 “superjumbo” entering service. Each aircraft brings significant opportunity to grow the British Airways route network while saving on fuel and generating lower emissions, both important items in light of the EU emissions trading scheme.

The Heathrow engineering base has been prepared for arrival of the new fleet of Boeing 787s, 777-300ERs and the Airbus A380s.

Finally, destinations for both the A380 and the 787 Dreamliner will be announced next year.

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