Dreamliner Kicks Off Tour in China
Promoted as the “first new airplane of the 21st Century”, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner arrived in Beijing on Sunday 4 December to start its scheduled six month tour which will include Ethiopia, Qatar and Kenya. With China being the biggest Boeing customer outside the United States, the aircraft manufacturer will be demonstrating the Dreamliner’s features and benefits to potential and confirmed customers in Beijing, Guangzhou and Haikou between now and 11 December. Identified as having the fastest growing aviation market, China’s four main airlines – China Southern Airlines Co Ltd, Air China Ltd, Hainan Airlines Co Ltd, and Xiamen Airlines – have ordered a total of 41 Dreamliners, while Hong Kong Airlines has reportedly entered into a memorandum of understanding for the purchase of 32 aircraft.
Boeing’s senior vice-president of sales and marketing for the regions of Greater China and Korea, Ihssane Mounir, noted that in addition to having the fastest growing aviation market, China is on track to become the world’s second largest market, despite being affected by the economic slowdown in both Europe and the United States. As China experiences an impressive level of economic growth, it is anticipated that it will become more competitive both in domestic travel and on an international level.
Although there have been numerous delays in the production of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the manufacturer reportedly has firm orders for 821 of the wide-body aircraft. With the current production capacity of two-and-a-half per month, plans for increasing production capability are underway. Featuring between 200 and 300 seats depending on configuration, the Dreamliner is said to be Boeing’s most fuel-efficient model, consuming up to twenty percent less fuel than the Boeing 767 which is of comparable size. One of the unique features of the Dreamliner is the high percentage of composite material used in construction. With final assembly taking place at the Boeing Everett Factory and the new North Charleston factory in South Carolina, the 787 Dreamliner has come about through a large-scale collaboration with suppliers in a number of countries around the world. By the time the aircraft was rolled-out in July 2007 at the Boeing factory in Everett, the company had already received 677 orders, making it the fastest-selling airliner in its class.