Boeing's 787 Dreamliner has been detailed on DailyTech several times over the past
year. The aircraft will be available in three versions (787-3, 787-8 and 787-9)
and will accommodate between 223 to 296 passengers. A total of 44 customers
have ordered 544 Dreamliners at a cost of $75 billion USD.
The plane will be constructed of roughly 50
percent composite materials to aid in strength and to save weight. Boeing
also switched out
aluminum in favor of titanium for some components to save even more
weight over the course of development. The Dreamliner will have a
cruising speed of Mach 0.85 and will consume about 20 percent less fuel than
its comparably-sized rivals.
Boeing today announced that that Virgin Atlantic has ordered
15 of the 787-9 Dreamliner which seats 263 passengers in three classes. The
deal is valued at $2.8 billion USD and Virgin Atlantic has the option to
purchase an additional eight 787-9s and another 20 787-3s.
"Virgin Atlantic is pleased to introduce the Boeing 787
Dreamliner as our aircraft of the future," said Virgin Atlantic CEO Steve
Ridgway. "This revolutionary aircraft will bring a step change to the
industry, substantially reducing environmental impact and incorporating
innovative design and advanced technology, while providing an enhanced flying
experience for our passengers."
Boeing and Virgin Atlantic are also looking at other ways to
reduce fuel usage in airliners. Instead of starting the engines near the
terminal, the two companies will are looking to tow aircraft to a
"starting grid" near the active runway where the engines would then
be started. This move would cut carbon emissions by nearly 50 percent, reduce
fuel consumption and cut down on noise pollution.
In addition, Virgin Atlantic and GE Aviation have announced
a partnership to develop biofuels for use in aircraft. A Virgin Atlantic Boeing
747-400 will be used as a demonstrator for alternative fuel usage sometime next
"Virgin Atlantic has demonstrated extraordinary
leadership within our industry on addressing environmental impact, and Boeing
is proud that the 787 Dreamliner is such an important ingredient of the
airline's plan for the future," said Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Scott
Carson. "Working together in partnership, Boeing and Virgin Atlantic will
develop innovative, environmentally progressive solutions to provide greater
fuel efficiency and lower aircraft emissions."