Despite fears that the first versions of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner wouldn’t meet Boeing’s promised fuel-saving predictions, early operators say the plane is performing better Boeing advertised.
All Nippon Airways, launch customer for the 787, is seeing a 21 percent improvement in fuel use over previous mid-sized long-range aircraft like the Boeing 767. And Japan Airlines says its fuel use figures are even better, said aerospace industry publication Aviation Week.
Boeing generally had predicted the composite-bodied Dreamliner would improve fuel burn figures by 20 percent.
Industry analysts had feared that the first Dreamliners off the prodution line wouldn’t meet Boeing’s promises because they were as much as 8,800 pounds over their target weights.
Being overweight is a common problem for first models off the assembly line. Later production planes typically see that weight decline as the builder modifies the plane to eliminate excess pounds.
Excess weight hurts fuel economy because that’s the more weight the engines must lift and propel, the greater the fuel usage. Some airlines have adopted extreme weight-saving measures to cut fuel usage throughout their fleets.
Those measures include lighter weight seats, eliminating window shades and magazine pockets and magazines and redesigning beverage carts.
The better-than-expected fuel performance is good news for Boeing. When aircraft don’t live up to their brochure guarantees, airlines typically demand compensation from the aircraft manufacturer to compensate for higher fuel costs.