26 September 2011 by Luke McCormick
US planemaker Boeing will today deliver its first 787 Dreamliner to Japan's All Nippon Airways at a ceremony in Everett, Washington.
The Dreamliner had originally been scheduled for delivery in 2008, but Boeing says that despite three years of delays the plane will become a new benchmark for technology and passenger comfort.
The fuel-efficient 787 features groundbreaking carbon-fibre and lightweight composite materials. Struggles with these composites and new manufacturing processes have been behind the delays.
"We've developed a set of technologies that will serve as the backbone of our airplanes for the next 30 years," Scott Fancher, the 787 programme chief, told journalists at a briefing in Everett yesterday.
Boeing says the twin-aisle Dreamliner features the industry's largest aircraft windows, with higher cabin humidity and cleaner air, which combine to allow passengers to arrive at their destinations more refreshed.
Boeing drew on a decade of research from psychologists and architects to make the 787 more comfortable for passengers.
The bigger windows feature glass that dims to replace window shades; bigger overhead luggage compartments that still allow for more headroom; and LED lighting that highlights new archways and mimics the natural cycles of day and night.
As plastics don't corrode like metals, cabin air in the 787 can have more humidity and be kept at a higher pressure, so passengers feel they're at a lower altitude than on other planes.
The Dreamliner is Boeing's first new jet in 16 years since the launch of the planemaker's biggest twin-engine aircraft, the 777, and says it doesn't expect to develop another new plane for a decade.