The first customer for Boeing’s new 787 is scheduled to fly away with the plane on Tuesday. It's a long-awaited milestone for Boeing after three years of delays for the all-new model.
All Nippon Airways signed delivery documents on Sunday, and Boeing planned to hold a delivery ceremony Monday. The airline plans to put the plane into service in November in Japan.
Boeing dreamed up the plane about a decade ago. They wanted something that could save on fuel – 20 percent – and go really far.
Boeing says a high-tech plastic fuselage makes the long-range wide-body airplane lighter than planes it will replace, saving fuel. It promises passengers more comfort with features such as bigger windows and larger luggage bins.
Morningstar analyst Neal Dihora says airlines are excited to have a medium-sized plane that can fly longer, direct routes instead of having to stop to gas up.
"That’s really the dream of the Dreamliner is that we can go from point to point, because I don’t think passengers really want to do hub and spoke," Dihora said. "Customers don’t want to sit around and save $20 or $50 and take six different connections."
Chicago-based Boeing has been locked in an international competition with its European rival, Airbus. Airbus' A350 model is designed to compete with the Dreamliner. The company expects the A350 to enter commercial service in 2013.
Boeing’s gotten 821 orders for the plane so far. But the company has sunk so much money into developing the Dreamliner that Dihora thinks it won’t be until 2015 that the plane starts to generate profits.