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Dreamliner’s commercial debut at Sea-Tac marred by mechanical issues

Post by John Gillie / The News Tribune on Oct. 1, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
October 1, 2012 4:42 pm

A celebration that began so well Monday morning at Sea-Tac Airport with the early arrival of All Nippon Airways’ first 787 Dreamliner flight to the U.S. has come to an embarrassing end.

The departure of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner from Sea-Tac to Tokyo’s Narita Airport Monday was postponed for 24 hours due to what All Nippon calls “mechanical issues.”

Passengers were never loaded on the aircraft, but were given food vouchers and asked to return later for an announcement.

The inaugural flight had been scheduled to leave Sea-Tac at 1:15 p.m. and arrive in Tokyo the Tuesday at 3:45 p.m.

The flight crosses the International Date Line, thus the next day arrival.

The Dreamliner flight from Tokyo to Sea-Tac arrived nearly an hour early today. The plane was greeted by Sea-Tac fire trucks spraying an archway of water through which the plane passed before reaching its gate at the airport’s South Satellite.

The daily Dreamliner flight is the second regularly scheduled 787 flight from a U.S. airport.
Japan Airlines has been operating a 787 from Boston to Tokyo for some time now.

The plane’s arrival was greeted by dignitaries from the airport’s owner, the Port of Seattle, from Boeing and from ANA. A room full of media were treated to Asian canapes and soft drinks before touring the aircraft prior to department.

The aircraft is a big step forward technologically for both Boeing and ANA, the 787′s launch customer. The aircraft is the first large airliner created largely from carbon fiber composite material instead of metal.

Composite’s light weight and corrosion resistance means better fuel economy and less maintenance for airlines. The plane’s engines and upgraded aerodynamics translate to 20 percent better fuel economy than prior generation mid-sized wide-bodied aircraft.

The plane’s commercial debut was a homecoming of sorts for the Dreamliner. Boeing delivered the first of the aircraft to ANA a little more than a year ago at the Everett plant where the plane is built.

That delivery was more than three years behind schedule because of design and manufacturing issues.

Boeing has delivered more than two dozen of the planes now; fourteen of those have gone to ANA.

The ANA 787′s interior features business class seats in alternating rows of three and four seats. Those seats have a full lie-flat capability. Each seat is equipped with a flat-screen entertainment center and a writing table.

In the economy section, the plane is arranged with two seats on the outside of the two aisles with four seats between those aisles. The interior is unusually bright because of the large windows and the color-adjustable LED lighting.

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