Yesterday, while most of America watched football, Boeing’s massive plant in Everett, Washington, rolled out its first ever 787-9 Dreamliner for Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates. The U.A.E. says the 787-9 Dreamliner will be a key part of Etihad Airways’ fleet and network expansion plans.
Sporting the company’s newest paint scheme, looking a bit like a marriage of diamonds and desert camo, the new Dreamliner will be officially delivered to Etihad Airways by the end of this year. The new 787-9 will be in service to Moscow, Russia; Brisbane, Australia; Dusseldorf, Germany; Doha, Qatar, and Mumbai (Bombay), India. Other routes will follow. A quick inspection of the airlines web site shows 787 service from New York’s John F. Kennedy airport to Abu Dhabi in mid-January; however those flights are already showing “sold out” status.
Etihad Airways has 71 Dreamliners on order and is one of Boeing’s largest customers. Currently there are almost 60 airlines around the world that have ordered the new aircraft, in fact, more than one-thousand Dreamliners are currently on order.
Boeing has two final assembly plants for their new premier airliner. The newer North Charleston plant in South Carolina employs over 7,500 workers, not including last week’s announcement of an additional 300-400 people who will staff up the new Research and Technology Center in the North Charleston-Summerville Palmetto Commerce Park. Boeing South Carolina is one of the largest employers in the state.
The new Dreamliner is the “next generation” of the 787 offering passengers modern LED interior lighting, higher cabin humidity, and best of all, cleaner cabin air and a smoother ride. The long-range, wide-body is Boeing’s most fuel-efficient airliner and the first to use composite materials for primary construction.
Boeing’s research and development encompasses more than commercial and military aircraft. Just this month, information was released from Boeing’s Defense division, that in collaboration with the U.S. Army, they have developed a new weapons-grade laser cannon designed to destroy incoming mortars, drones, and more.
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