Boeing delivered the first of its newest Dreamliner aircraft to Singapore Airlines this week, marking the first of 49 787-10 planes on order to the carrier, the largest buyer of the jet.
The latest model, flown to Singapore from the manufacturer’s North Charleston facility in South Carolina, completes the Dreamliner fleet, building on the success of the 787-8 and the 787-9, introduced in 2011 and 2014, respectively.
Described as “a magnificent piece of engineering” built with “exceptional operating efficiency and advanced technology” by Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong, the £229 million ($419.5 million) aircraft joins the carrier’s existing fleet of Dreamliner aircraft operated by its low-cost subsidiary Scoot, making Singapore Airlines the first carrier in the world to fly all three models. The south-east Asian airline was also the first to purchase Boeing’s 747 (the first wide-body plane ever built) in 1972.
From May, Osaka in Japan and Perth in Australia will be the first scheduled destinations served by the airline’s 787-10.
With airlines around the world ordering 171 of the planes to date, should passengers believe the hype surrounding the newest addition to the skies? Here we look at some of the most innovative features of the 787-10 and its brethren of “super-efficient” Dreamliner aircraft.
1. It’s more fuel efficient than ever
The greatest feat of the new Dreamliner is its “unprecedented” fuel efficiency. The plane uses 25 per cent less fuel per passenger compared with aircraft of a similar size and is 10 per cent more fuel efficient than the “best of its competition”, according to Boeing.
2. And cost-effective
Built with an “advanced, single-barrel composite fuselage and robust design”, all Dreamliner planes cut operating costs by 15 per cent and maintenance fees by 30 per cent. Fewer scheduled repairs means more air time and ultimately more revenue.
3. It’s bigger
The longest of the Dreamliner family at 224 feet, the 787-10 is 18 feet longer than the 787-9 and can carry 330 passengers (that’s 88 more than the 787-8 and 40 more than the 787-9).
“With the additional capacity, the 787-10 provides airlines with the lowest operating cost per seat of any wide-body plane in service today,” a spokesperson for Boeing said.
It also has a cargo volume of nearly double (41 per cent) of the 787-8 and 15 per cent larger volume than the 787-9, raising its capacity as a cargo carrier, a key source of revenue.
4. Yet lighter
“Like the other 787 Dreamliners, the 787-10 is designed with strong, lightweight composites, the most advanced systems, and comfortable cabin features,” said the Boeing spokesperson.
The main technology behind the lighter weight of all Dreamliner planes is the use of composite materials, which allows “a lighter, simpler structure, increases airplane efficiency, reduces fuel consumption and reduces weight-based maintenance and fees”.
Damages to composites are also easier to spot and minor repairs can be completed at the gate in less than an hour, the company says.
5. And quieter
Dreamliner aircraft are designed to offer a “calmer cabin experience”, equipped with a quieter air conditioner and advanced technology that isolates noises from vibrations in sidewalls and ceilings and reduces engine noises.
They also offer a 60 per cent reduction in noise footprint, and are on average between seven and eight decibels quieter during departure and up to three decibels quieter on arrival, according to the UK Civil Aviation Authority.
6. Flights will have less turbulence
The Dreamliner’s unique Smoother Ride Technology features “smart sensors” that detect turbulence and are designed to reduce motion sickness eightfold, according to Boeing.
7. With more space for comfort
Featuring a vaulted ceiling and adjustable LED lighting, Dreamliner jets are wider than other planes of a similar build, lending a spacious cavernous feel and offering more personal space for passengers, including larger overhead bins that can fit four full-sized wheeled cabin suitcases.
8. And the largest windows in the sky
Offering the largest windows of any aircraft, regardless of the seat, every passenger can enjoy aerial views through the windows, which can be dimmed at the touch of a button.
9. It boasts cleaner cabin air
Dreamliner aircraft have been built with the same robust technology used to purify air in hospital operating rooms. Its high-tech air purification system removes contaminants and odours that can cause throat irritation, while the cabin’s HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters remove bacteria, viruses and fungi. An additional gaseous filtration system unique to the 787 aircraft is said to eliminate irritants that produce a drying effect. Boeing says passengers on the aircraft will feel like they’re breathing at 6,000 feet rather than the 8,000 feet atmosphere of other aircraft. This helps reduce jet lag, headaches and fatigue.
10. More direct long-haul routes
Offering a more comfortable in-flight experience on the whole makes longer direct journeys more feasible. To date, airlines have launched or announced more than 100 new non-stop routes serviced by the 787 family of aircraft. The newly delivered 787-10 offers a flight range of 6,430 nautical miles (11,910 kilometres).
It’s current order of 171 planes have been made by carriers in Europe (British Airways and Air France), North America (United), Asia (Japan’s All Nippon Airways and Taiwan’s EVA Air) and the United Arab Emirates, including Etihad Airways and Emirates.
The Telegraph, London
See also: Obese passengers banned from Thai Airways’ new business class on Dreamliner