British Airways has welcomed its first Boeing Dreamliner 787-9 to its fleet, which arrived at London Heathrow Airport. The aircraft recently landed at its new home after an eight hour and 45 minutes flight from Seattle.
The next-generation aircraft is the first of 22 on order from Boeing. British Airways is expecting the next delivery in mid-October with a further two scheduled to arrive by the year’s end.
The pilot of the aircraft and also British Airways’ flight technical manager for the Boeing 787 fleet, Mitch Preston said, “It’s always a privilege to be the first pilot to fly an aircraft on its delivery flight. I was lucky enough to bring our first 787-8 to Heathrow in 2013 too.
“Flying with just the small delivery team on board is a very different experience to a normal flight with customers on board.
“I’m really looking forward the first one of those – I think our customers will really enjoy the latest addition to our fleet.”
The first destination on the charts for the new aircraft is Delhi, which is due to begin on the 25th of October. Abu Dhabi and Muscat are next in line, starting from the 5th November.
From December, the Dreamliner will also add Kuala Lumpur to its network, shortly followed by Austin in February of 2016.
Being 20 feet longer than its 787-8 predecessor, the new 787-9 will offer four classes of cabins; World Traveller (Economy), World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy), Club World (Business Class), and for the first time on the airline’s 787 fleet, a new First cabin.
Whereas the airline’s other long-haul aircraft contains 14 seats in the First cabin, on the 787-9 there will be just eight seats available, further enhancing the exclusivity and privacy of guests. Indeed, the entire design of the new First cabin has been carefully designed based on the feedback from First customers in order to increase comfort and maximise the use of a more exclusive area.
The 787s are the most technically advanced aircraft in the British Airways fleet to date, and is now in a ‘entry into service’ programme that includes ground trials and familiarisation trips.
A feature of the new aircraft is the different pressurisation applied which provides the internal cabin with an altitude of an equivalent to 6,000ft which is 2,000ft lower than other aircrafts. This means greater humidity inside the cabin which reduces the drying effect allowing passengers to arrive at their destination feeling more refreshed and less jet lagged.
To mark the occasion, the national airline has revealed a time-lapse video of the aircraft being built at the Boeing headquarters in Seattle.