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Encyclopedia > Boeing 7E7
Boeing 787 in new Boeing colors

The Boeing 787, or Dreamliner, is a mid-sized passenger airliner currently under development by Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) and scheduled to enter service in 2008. It will carry between 200 and 350 passengers depending on the seating configuration, and be more fuel-efficient than earlier airliners. In addition, it is the first major airliner to use a significant amount of composite material in its construction.

The 787 was known as the 7E7 prior to January 28, 2005.[1] (http://www.boeing.com/news/releases/2005/photorelease/q1/pr_050128h.html) According to Boeing prior to that date, the "E" in "7E7" had no specific meaning; rather, it suggests a number of positive traits. "Efficiency" is an obvious attribute, although the "E" has also been said to stand for "environmentally friendly" or "exceptional". Boeing has claimed that the most important "E" will be "e-enabled", as the entire aircraft will be wired and controlled via Ethernet systems. After renaming, Boeing stated that the "E" simply stood for "Eight."



The Sonic Cruiser would have replaced the 767. Instead, Boeing chose a somewhat more conservative route, although the 787 will still contain many revolutionary features.

The 787 replaced the earlier Sonic Cruiser. The Sonic Cruiser was designed with advanced structures, engines, and systems technology intended to make travel at near-sonic speeds economical. The 787 uses the same advanced technology to travel more efficiently at conventional speeds. Boeing switched to the 787 when airlines determined that greater efficiency was more valuable to them than greater speed.

On December 16, 2003, Boeing announced assembly would take place in Everett, Washington, employing 800 to 1,200 people.

On April 6, 2004, Boeing announced that it had selected two engine types, the General Electric(GE) GEnx and Rolls_Royce Trent 1000 to power the 787. Significantly, this leaves Pratt & Whitney unable to offer one of their own engines to 787 customers. Boeing may have wished to rely on two evolved versions of existing engines rather than the higher-risk option of an all new Pratt & Whitney engine, particularly in light of Pratt & Whitney's recent failures in the Regional Jet market and failed PW8000 engine for the A318.

For the first time in commercial aviation, both engine types will have a standard interface with the aircraft, allowing any 787 to be fitted with either a GE or Rolls-Royce engine at any point in time. Engine interchangeability makes the 787 a far more flexible asset to airlines, allowing them to change from one manufacturer's engine to the other's in light of any future engine developments which conform more closely to their operating profile. The engine market for the 787 is estimated $40 billion USD over the next 25 years.

Any commercial launch of a new airliner can be expected to draw scathing comments from competitors, Boeing's doubt over the A380 and Airbus' mocking of the Sonic Cruiser are recent examples. The 787 is no exception, as Airbus' John Leahy has made attempts at refuting all of the claims that Boeing have made for the aircraft. Airbus is of course in no position to start development of a comparable plane, with the ongoing development of the A380, however Airbus might not be in such a dangerous position as they appear. Airbus is now offering a reduced weight A330 with the 787's next generation turbofans (modified to generate bleed air as with the proposed 747 Advanced). Although this proposed new jet, renamed the A350, lacks the 787's widespread use of composites and advanced systems, Airbus still claims it will almost match the 787's performance and reduced operating costs.

Commercial launch

On April 26, 2004, the Japanese airline All Nippon Airways (ANA) became the launch customer for the 787, then still-known as the 7E7, announcing a firm order for 50 aircraft to be delivered beginning in 2008. The order is valued at roughly $6 billion and represents the largest ever single launch order for a new Boeing jetliner, as well as illustrating market acceptance of the concept.

ANA will buy thirty 787-3, 300-seat, one-class aircraft for the domestic market, and twenty 787-8, long-haul, 230-seat, two-class aircraft for international routes such as Tokyo Narita_Los Angeles. The aircraft will allow new routes to be opened to minor cities not previously served, such as to Denver.

On June 28, 2004, Air New Zealand (ANZ) became the second 787 customer, announcing a firm order for two aircraft and options on 16 more. This unusual arrangement was likely precipitated by ANZ's perception that they needed to secure their delivery slots, far in advance. The aircraft will be used to develop new international routes and increase frequency on existing routes. ANZ was the first airline to announce which powerplant would power their aircraft, selecting the Trent in June 2004.

Blue Panorama of Italy and First Choice Airways of the United Kingdom placed orders for four and six examples, respectively, of the 787-8 on July 7, 2004. Primaris Airlines (run by several prominent industry veterans), which caters to business customers in the same vein as Switzerland's PrivatAir, placed an order on October 21, 2004 for 20 787s and options for 15 more. The Primaris order represents the first American customer for the aircraft. On December 22, 2004, Japan Airlines ordered 30 787's with 20 options for close to $4 billion, and on December 29 of the same year, Continental announced an order for 10 787 airframes.

On December 31, 2004, Vietnam Airlines became the eighth airline to signal its intent to buy the 787, with an order for four jets. This was followed on January 28, 2005 with an order from China Aviation Supplies Import & Export Corporation for 60 787s, which will be distributed among six Chinese state-owned airlines. First deliveries are expected to commence in prior to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Peking.

Date Airline EIS Type
787_3 787_8 787_9 Unknown Options
April 26, 2004 All Nippon Airways 2008 30 20 50
June 2, 2004  Air New Zealand 2008 2 16
July 7, 2004 First Choice Airways 2009 6
July 7, 2004 Blue Panorama 2009 4
October 21, 2004 Primaris Airlines 2010 20 15
December 22, 2004 Japan Airlines 2008 30 20
December 29, 2004 Continental Airlines 2009 10
December 31, 2004 Vietnam Airlines 2010 4
January 28, 2005 Air China 2008 TBD
January 28, 2005 China Eastern 2008 15
January 28, 2005 China Southern 2008 13
January 28, 2005 Hainan Airlines 2008 8
January 28, 2005 Shanghai Airlines 2008 TBD
January 28, 2005 Xiamen Airlines 2008 TBD
February 4, 2005 Ethiopian Airlines 2008 5 5
Total 191 106+

Customer announced orders and commitments for the 787 now total 191 airplanes, including 56 under firm contract. This makes the 787 the fastest-ever selling Boeing airliner upon launch; the 747 sold 85 units during the same period. Negotiations remain underway with a number of key airlines worldwide. They expect to have 500 orders by Japanese companies in Nagoya, while most of the fuselage and the horizontal stabilizers will be manufactured by Vought/Alenia in North Charleston, South Carolina. Many of the foreign companies which will be contributing to the 787 will be producing their structures at their American facilities.

Messier-Dowty will build the undercarriage. This highlights the French participation in the Boeing program, partially as an industrial offset for Air France launch of the Boeing 777-300ER. Honeywell and Rockwell-Collins will provide flight control, guidence and other Avionics systems. The 787 will be the first aircraft in history with standard "dual" head up guidence systems. Future integration of forward looking infrafred is being looked at by Flight Dynamics allowing improved visibility using thermal sensing as part of the HUD system allowing pilots to "see" through the clouds.

The final assembly will consist of attaching fully-completed subassemblies, instead of building the complete aircraft from the ground up. This is a technique which Boeing has previously used on the 737 program, which involves airlifting fuselage barrel sections from Boeing's Wichita, Kansas facility to their final assembly plant at Renton, Washington. Airbus has also used this technique in the past, which in their case is more a political necessity as a result of having to divide workshare between partner nations.

The 787 will undergo wind-tunnel testing at Boeing's Transonic Wind Tunnel, QinetiQ's 5_metre wind tunnel based in Farnborough, UK, and NASA Ames Research Center's wind tunnel, as well as at the French aerodynamics research agency, ONERA.

The first composite section rolled out in January of 2005, and final design is due between March and April of 2005.


  • Twin aisle seating.
  • Cruise speed: 0.85 Mach (903 km/h or 561 mph at altitude)
  • Range of 8,500 nautical miles (15,700 km), enough to cover the Los Angeles to London or New York to Tokyo routes.
  • Construction materials (by weight): 61 percent composite, 20 percent aluminum, 11 percent titanium, 8 percent steel. Composite materials are significantly lighter and stronger than traditional aircraft materials, making the 787 a very light aircraft for its capabilities. By volume, the 787 will be 80 percent composite.
  • The 787 production line will be able to finish an aircraft in as little as three days, compared to 17 days for the 737.
  • Larger windows than any other civil air transport, with a higher eye level, so passengers can see the horizon, with liquid crystal display (LCD)-based "auto-dimming" to reduce cabin glare and maintain transparency.
  • Light-emitting diode (LED) cabin lighting will be used instead of flourescent systems.
  • Cabin air provided by electrically driven compressors (no engine bleed air).
  • Ethernet connections between aircraft systems and flight deck controls.


The 787 is currently being sold in three variants:

  • The 787-3 will be a 296-seat (two class) short-range version targeted at high density flights in Asia, with a range of 3,500 nautical miles (6,500 km). EIS is 2010.
  • The 787-8 will be the "baseline" model, with 223 seats in three classes and a range of 8,500 nautical miles (15,700 km). EIS is 2008.
  • The 787-9 will be a stretched variant, seating 259 in three classes. With targeted EIS set at 2010. However, the EIS may be changed back to 2010 as Qatar Airways wants the aircraft to enter service in 2010. In addition, late 2007 entry is possible for the _3/_8 variants as the project is presently a couple of months ahead of schedule.

787 Specifications (Basic Design)
787_3 787_8 787_9 767-300
(for comparison)
(for comparison)
Length 55.5 m 55.5 m 62 55.0 m 61.4 m
Height 16.5 m 16.5 m 16.5 m 15.9 m 16.8 m
Wingspan 51.6 m 58.8 m 60.0 m 47.6 m 51.9 m
Cross section 5.75 m 5.75 m 5.75 m 4.50 m 4.50 m
MTOW 163,500 kg 216,500 kg 226,800 kg 156,500 kg 204,120 kg
Seats 296
two class
three class
three class
three class
three class
Cargo 16 tons 16 tons 16 tons 10 tons
Engine GE GENX or
Trent 1000
Trent 1000
Trent 1000
GE CF6-80C2 GE CF6-80C2
Cruising speed 0.85 Mach 0.85 Mach 0.85 Mach 0.80 Mach 0.80 Mach
Range1 6,500 km 15,700 km 15,400 km 7,400 km 10,454 km
Service ceiling 13,000 m 13,000 m 13,000 m 13,000 m 13,000 m
EIS 2010 2008 2010 1986 2000

1 With full load (passengers and cargo)

External links

  • 787 Facts (from BCA) (http://www.boeing.com/commercial/7e7/facts.html)
  • Customer list (from BCA) (http://newairplane.com/en-US/7E7Dreamliner/Customers.htm)
  • Boeing 787 photos (from BCA) (http://www.boeing.com/commercial/7e7/photos.html)
  • A detailed analysis of the 787's business affairs (pdf) (http://igeographer.lib.indstate.edu/pritchard.pdf)
  • Aircraft-Info.net - Boeing 787 (http://www.aircraft-info.net/aircraft/jet_aircraft/boeing/7e7/)
  • ANA info page on 787 (http://www.anaskyweb.com/us/e/about_ana/corp_info/news/2004/040426.html)
  • 787 and WTO (http://www.buffalo.edu/reporter/vol35/vol35n40/articles/Boeing.html)

Related content
Related Development
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Boeing 767 - Airbus A330 - Airbus A350

Designation Series

707 - 717 - 727 - 737 - 747 - 757 - 767 - 777 - 787

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  Results from FactBites:
Boeing 7E7 = Washington jobs? (648 words)
Knowing that Boeing did not plan to manufacture the majority of its 7E7 plane in Washington (primarily three-day final assembly), supporters of the nearly $4 billion in tax and other incentives granted to Boeing instead justified their support on the basis that they were "safeguarding" nearly 200,000 jobs.
Despite the billions in tax incentives and other considerations bestowed to Boeing without the requirement of a single net new job being created, we may have hastened the elimination of the jobs for those currently employed on manufacturing Boeing's 737, 757, and 767.
It is becoming clear that the 7E7 is not the Washington job engine it was advertised to be.
Boeing 787 - Aircraft-Info.net, Aircraft Information #1 (1415 words)
The Boeing Company's board of directors has approved the formal launch on April 26th, 2004 of the new 7E7 Dreamliner passenger jet based on firm order for 50 7E7s from ANA (All Nippon Airways) and the overall strong business case for the new airplane.
Boeing will be responsible for about 33% of the production with the flight deck and fuselage being manufactured at Wichita, the wings and the fuselage fairings at Winnipeg, Canada, the fin at Frederickson, and the moving leading and trailing edges of the wings at Tulsa and at Boeing Australia.
Boeing has explored radical new concepts for the interior cabin configuration including "sweeping arches" and "a calming, simulated sky" to enhance passenger perception of spaciousness.
  More results at FactBites »



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