The Boeing 787 Dreamliner has become such a staple of long-haul aviation, its hard to believe that the type is so young. However, thirteen years ago today, Boeing revealed its youngest, totally new aircraft design to the world. Since the first peek at Boeing’s original design, almost 1,000 787 Dreamliners have been delivered to customers around the world.
The Dreamliner isn’t the newest product to roll off of the Boeing production line. Indeed, since the 787 was introduced, both the 737 MAX and 777X have taken their first flights. However, these aircraft were based on preexisting designs, meaning that the 787 is Boeing’s youngest brand new model.
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily aviation news digest.
A brief history
As far as the public-facing side of the 787 is concerned, the story stretches back to 2003. On January 29th, 2003, Boeing officially designated the new aircraft project, naming the aircraft the Boeing 7E7 in the interim.
In May of that year, Boeing invited the public to name the aircraft. While Planey McPlaneFace never took off, two names were pushing ahead of the others by the end of the month. “Global Cruiser” was in the lead, closely followed by “Dreamliner”. In June of that year, at the Paris Air Show, it was announced that Dreamliner had won with around half a million votes.
In December of 2003, the Dreamliner was approved for offer to airlines. It was officially launched in April 2004 with a 50 aircraft order from ANA, the launch customer. In January 2005, Boeing replaced the E in 7E7 with an eight, making the aircraft’s designation 787.
The big reveal
In the years leading up to the 787’s reveal, the aircraft proved popular. Indeed, by the end of 2006, Boeing already had almost 450 orders for the type – far more than the Airbus A380 sold in its entire life span. Then, on July 8th, 2003, Boeing pulled back the curtains, revealing the 787 for the whole world to see.
The aircraft went on to take its first flight on December 15th, 2009. Just under two years later, the first Boeing 787 entered into service with ANA on October 26th.
The Boeing 787 today
Today Boeing has produced three variants of the 787 family. These are the -8, -9, and -10. Currently, only three airlines operate all three options. British Airways most recently joined United and ANA last week in operating all three types.
ANA had initially placed an order for a fourth type, the Boeing 787-3. This was intended to be used on domestic routes in Japan by both ANA and Japan Airlines. However, both airlines eventually converted their respective orders to the 787-8 by January 2010.
According to Boeing’s order books at the end of May 2020, the American aerospace manufacturer had delivered 972 787s. This consisted of 374 -8, 542 -9s, and 56 -10s. With a total of 1,510 unfulfilled Dreamliner orders, there are still plenty more aircraft to come.
When did you last fly on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!