Unveiling the 787 Dreamliner: Air India gearing up for a lofty dream run

The Dreamliner, India's most awaited aircraft, finally touched down at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on Saturday, 8 September, after a wait of nearly four years. Adorned in the red and yellow livery of India's national airline, Air India is riding high on expectations that the plane will now bring a fresh lease of life. Ajit Singh, the Minister for Civil Aviation, will unveil the B787 today at Terminal 3 of the IGI airport. Here is a look at the aircraft's long journey.
Unveiling the 787 Dreamliner: Air India gearing up for a lofty dream run
The Dreamliner, India's most awaited aircraft, finally touched down at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on Saturday, 8 September, after a wait of nearly four years. Adorned in the red and yellow livery of India's national airline, Air India is riding high on expectations that the plane will now bring a fresh lease of life. Ajit Singh, the Minister for Civil Aviation, will unveil the B787 today at Terminal 3 of the IGI airport.
Unveiling the 787 Dreamliner: Air India gearing up for a lofty dream run
Air India had placed an order for 27 such aircraft six years ago, and the first batch was supposed to have been delivered in September 2008. However, the delivery was delayed due to design and production issues at Boeing, the maker of the aircraft. Air India will be getting two more of these planes in the next few weeks. A total of eight will arrive by March next year, including five by December. The state-run airline will get six more in the 2012-13 fiscal year.
Unveiling the 787 Dreamliner: Air India gearing up for a lofty dream run
The long-range, twin-engine aircraft is Boeing's most fuel-efficient. The aircraft maker says the plane consumes 20 per cent less fuel compared with the similar-sized 767. Better fuel efficiency means lower flying costs. The 787 comes in four variants, with the longest-range variant capable of flying over 15,000 km non-stop.
Unveiling the 787 Dreamliner: Air India gearing up for a lofty dream run
Boeing launched its 787 program in April 2004 with a record order from Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA). It had originally planned for a first flight by the end of August 2007 and premiered the 787 at a rollout ceremony on July 8, 2007. However, the aircraft's major systems had not been installed at that time and delivery had to be delayed.
Unveiling the 787 Dreamliner: Air India gearing up for a lofty dream run
ANA was the first airline to have taken delivery of the aircraft and use it for a commercial flight. It placed an order for 50 aircraft. On October 26, 2011, the Dreamliner made its maiden commercial flight from Tokyo's Narita airport to Hong Kong. There were 240 passengers on board. While Air India was the second to place the order, it is the fifth airline to get it after ANA, Japan Airlines, Ethiopian Airways and Lan Airlines of Chile.
Unveiling the 787 Dreamliner: Air India gearing up for a lofty dream run
According to the company's website, 58 customers from around the world have placed orders for 851 airplanes valued over $175 billion, making it the most successful twin-aisle launch of a new commercial airplane in Boeing's history. The 787 program opened its final assembly plant in Everett in May 2007.
Unveiling the 787 Dreamliner: Air India gearing up for a lofty dream run
According to Boeing, the aircraft was ready for delivery in May but got delayed over finalisation of a compensation agreement between Air India and the US company. The agreement deals with the compensation to be given by the US aircraft major for the four-year delay in delivery.
Unveiling the 787 Dreamliner: Air India gearing up for a lofty dream run
Key features of the Dreamliner, apart from better fuel efficiency, include ambient lighting and higher air pressure, which will make an altitude of 8,000-10,000 feet feel more like 6,000 feet. For Air India, the plane has been configured to house 256 seats -- 18 full-flat business class seats and 238 in the coach class.

Other features include 30 per cent bigger windows that can be dimmed electronically, seat-to-seat email and bidet-equipped lavatories. Bidets, of course, are optional.
Unveiling the 787 Dreamliner: Air India gearing up for a lofty dream run
In January 2008, Boeing responded to reports about Federal Aviation Administration's concerns regarding the protection of the 787's computer networks from possible intentional or unintentional passenger access. The company said various measures have been taken to protect the systems, including air gaps in some places that physically separate the networks, and firewalls for their software separation, that will prevent data transfer from the passenger internet system to the maintenance or navigation systems.
Unveiling the 787 Dreamliner: Air India gearing up for a lofty dream run
In India, the Dreamliner will cost around $210 million, cheaper than the widely-used 777 which costs $260 million.

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