Yesterday (August 8) British Airways showcased its most technologically advanced aircraft, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, to enthusiasts in Derby, Newcastle and Edinburgh.
More than a thousand Rolls-Royce workers turned out as the 787, fitted with Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines, flew 1,000 feet over the company’s Derbyshire site, side-by-side with a Spitfire, to thank staff for designing and building the engines.
British Airways’ first 787 pilot, Senior First Officer Mitch Preston, said: “It was a huge thrill to fly our newest Boeing aircraft alongside one with such history, and over the factory where the aircraft engines for British Airways 787s and A380s were made. We didn’t realise so many Rolls Royce staff would be coming out to watch – we could see them all from 1,000 feet!”
Rolls-Royce’s Senior Vice President, Customers, Jacqui Sutton, said: “We have an incredible partnership with British Airways and it means a lot to us that such a valued customer chose to fly its new aircraft over our Derby site to thank everyone for their hard work. We’re providing engines for all 27 of the airline’s 24 787s and 12 of its A380s, and its great to see our engines in flight”.
Shortly afterwards, the aircraft landed at Newcastle International Airport, where regional media, invited guests and British Airways’ staff from nearby Bamburgh Court offices were given tours of the cabin.
Richard Tams, British Airways’ head of UK & Ireland sales and marketing said: “We’re very excited to have flown our new Boeing 787 Dreamliner into Newcastle International Airport, which hundreds of thousands of our customers use every year to transfer onto international flights at Heathrow.
“Our customers in the north of England are hugely important to us, and we wanted them to be among the first to see the new aircraft and to learn about all the benefits it brings”
And yesterday afternoon more than thirty frequent fliers based in Scotland became the first customers to fly on the aircraft, as it operated a special flight from Edinburgh Airport around the Highlands and Islands.
Simon Scholey, British Airways’ Chief Technical Pilot, operating the flight, said: “We’re delighted that we could showcase the aircraft to customers in Edinburgh and give them the first experience of flying on British Airways’ Boeing 787 Dreamliner.”
British Airways’ customers travelling from around the UK will be able to connect in London onto the 787 when it begins flying direct from Heathrow to Toronto, from September 1, and to Newark, New York, from October 1.
The Boeing 787 had a troubled introduction to service with some of its early airline customers as battery problems lead to all 787s being temporarily ground earlier this year.
However, the type is expected to have a very successful future ahead of it. British Airways says the 787 offers customers a: “whisper-quiet cabin” which operates with a lower cabin pressure than other airliners, allowing customers to arrive at their destination feeling more refreshed and less jet-lagged. It adds that customers can also enjoy the largest windows of any commercial aircraft: “offering views of the horizon from every seat”. The airline’s new in-flight entertainment system features more than 1,600 hours of programming.
The 787 is also extremely fuel-efficient, burning 20 per cent less fuel than the aircraft it replaces.