Virgin Atlantic places an order for 15 787-9 Dreamliners

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 year.

"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."

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen
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