It was an awesome weekend to be a fan of flying and student of aviation history. I am sure many of you were, like me, on the phone tracking the inaugural Qantas 787-9 flight from Perth to London Heathrow, the first direct commercial flight connecting Australia and the United Kingdom.
And hours after that flight landed, our team at Boeing celebrated the delivery to Singapore Airlines of the world’s first 787-10 Dreamliner, an airplane that sets a new global standard for fuel efficiency with the lowest operating costs per seat of any widebody jet in service today.
More on the 787-10 delivery below, but first, how about that Qantas 787-9 flight? How far we have come since 1947. That year, Qantas offered the first air service linking the two countries with a Lockheed L-749 Constellation. The service became known as the “Kangaroo Route” as the trip took four days and seven “hops” in cities such as Singapore, Karachi and Cairo.
By 2018, airlines had reduced the journey time to about 20 hours, but still with one stop along the way. Qantas and the 787-9 Dreamliner changed that by covering the non-stop journey in just over 17 hours.
It was great to hear from some of the passengers as they landed in London. In this BBC article, a passenger said the direct flight removed the “drudgery” of changing planes, while another spoke for all of us when she said, “You want to get back, you don’t want to be hanging around terminals.”
I was also excited to see Qantas CEO Alan Joyce saying that the airline expects to make money on this route from day one.
These comments speak to why we at Boeing believe so strongly in the point-to-point model in general and the 787 Dreamliner in particular. People want to get to their destination without stopping at a hub. The 787 Dreamliner is making that possible and profitable. Add Perth – London to the more than 170 new routes the 787 has opened up.
Whether airlines are flying one of the world’s longest flights at 9,000 statute miles or one of the shortest at 69 statute miles, or somewhere in between, they can make money with the ultra-efficient 787 family. And they are doing just that.
My Product Analysis team looked at the flights being flown by the more than 640 Dreamliners in service around the world. (By the way, I was in the 787 factory recently and we are already beginning to build the 700th 787. Pretty amazing). The team found a fairly even distribution of flights, from “long thin” routes to medium routes with heavy frequencies to some very short hops.
Take a look at the breakdown of the flights by ranges…
As you can see, the flights run the gamut, from less than 1,000 statute miles to more than 6,000. Can you guess which routes are the most popular?
Here are a few that our team found…
- The 721-mile flight between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh operated by Vietnam Airlines with a 787-8 on 62 flights per week
- The 669-mile flight between Beijing and Shanghai operated by Air China with a 787-9 on 35 flights per week
- The 3,940-mile flight between Chicago and London operated by American Airlines with a 787-8 on 28 flights per week
Here are the shortest 787 flights…
- The 69-mile flight between Amman and Tel Aviv operated by Royal Jordanian with a 787-8
- The 72-mile flight between Malabo and Douala operated by Ethiopian Airlines with a 787-8
The tremendous efficiency and flexibility of the 787 family speak to why nearly half of all Dreamliner operators have come back to order more. And they explain why new customers are joining the Dreamliner family.
You may have seen that Hawaiian Airlines decided to switch to the 787-9, while Turkish Airlines firmed up an order for up to 30 Dreamliners. We are now at more than 1,300 net orders, making the 787 the fastest-selling widebody airplane of all-time.
And we are working to add to the total with a number of campaigns, including finalizing an order for 40 787-10s from Emirates.
Speaking of the 787-10, last Sunday was a great day for our Boeing teammates and our supplier partners around the world as we celebrated the first delivery to our valued launch customer Singapore Airlines.
I’ve posted a few more photos below of the delivery event at our Boeing South Carolina facility. You can read more about the 787-10 from this article in The Telegraph which lists 10 reasons why the airplane and the Dreamliner family are worth the hype. Or read my post earlier this year about the 787-10’s certification.
Since that post, we also received the production certificate (PC700) for the 787-10 from the Federal Aviation Administration. It’s a big deal. The certificate authorizes The Boeing Company to produce 787-10 airplanes and validates that we have a capable and approved Quality Management System (QMS) to confirm the airplanes we build are of the highest quality.
I want to give a shout out to our great partners at the FAA. We have a common goal of ensuring and enhancing the safety of aviation. A great partner in this effort is Frank Ferrer, manager of the FAA Certificate Management Office, who recently announced his plan to retire in mid-2018.
Thanks Frank and all of our partners who have made the 787 Dreamliner such a success…at any distance.