Forget the two-and-a-half years of delays and the speculation about it not making it to Farnborough International Airshow. You didn’t have to be an aviation geek to appreciate the sight of the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner arriving in Europe at Farnborough Airport the day before the airshow opened. In photos the 787 looks sleek and sexy. In flight it looks like pure poetry.
Enough gushing. Airframe ZA003 has “Experimental” stenciled above the cabin door and the cabin is liberally sprinkled with test equipment, cables and other paraphernalia, an indication that the model is still in the throes of certification flight-testing. Certification, according to some counts, has slipped seven times, the latest intimated at Farnborough. Launch customer All Nippon Airways (ANA) is expecting the delivery of its first 787 in December, but Boeing officials acknowledged this could slip a few weeks, which could move delivery into January.
Separately, UK launch customer Thomson Airways, which is due to receive its first 787 of eight in January 2012, likes the model’s 8,500-nm range and 6,000-foot cabin altitude because these could open up the UK vacation market to longer-range, shorter-duration trips, under the assumption that the lower cabin altitude will alleviate some of the problems of jet lag and body-clock adjustment.