Boeing readies Dreamliner for first flight

WASHINGTON, June 21, 2009 (AFP) – US aerospace giant Boeing is readying its 787 Dreamliner for first test flight in the coming days, banking on the new fuel-efficient plane to sail above stiff market headwinds.

Boeing has built six Dreamliners that will be used in the flight-test program to assure the plane’s safety for the company and for regulators, including the Federal Aviation Administration and foreign authorities, Birtel said.

“The main mantra is safety,” he said.

Boeing says it has 865 orders from 56 airlines for the cutting-edge plane, claiming it is the “fastest-selling all-new jetliner in aviation history.”

The 787 Dreamliner is the company’s first new model in more than a decade and features 50 percent plastic composites, compared with 12 percent on its 777s, helping lower fuel consumption.

According to Boeing, the 787 will use 20 percent less fuel than similarly sized airplanes, reducing emissions by a similar amount.

Plagued by problems from a complex international production system and a two-month machinists strike last year, the Dreamliner’s delays have irked customers and resulted in order cancellations.

The latest delay, announced last December, postponed fi