Boeing's Dreamliner completes first flight outside US

18th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

Boeing's 787 Dreamliner jet, whose delivery to clients faces fresh delays, landed here Sunday after its first flight outside of the US ahead of the Farnborough International Airshow.

The test plane landed at Farnborough airport at 9:08am (0808 GMT), watched by journalists from around the world, ahead of the major week-long trade show that begins on Monday.

Last week, US aircraft maker Boeing said it may be forced to delay the delivery of its first fuel-efficient Dreamliner to 2011 from late this year -- a date that was already more than two years behind schedule.

Last month, Boeing said it had detected a "workmanship issue" with the horizontal stabiliser of the aircraft, whose innovative structure and manufacture across more than 100 sites has created many technical problems.

The company is hanging its future hopes on the mid-sized plane -- Boeing's first new model in more than a decade -- which draws on huge advances in aviation technology and is capable of flying long-haul routes with up to 20 percent less fuel.

The fuel efficiency is largely down to the fact that up to half the twin-aisle Dreamliner is made of lightweight composite materials, such as carbon fibre-reinforced resin, according to the company.

Boeing launched the programme in April 2004 and initially had planned to deliver the first plane to Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways in the first half of 2008 -- a deadline which may now not be until the start of 2011.

Boeing's fierce European rival Airbus is meanwhile working on a new long-haul plane of its own -- the A350 XWB (Extra Wide Body).

© 2010 AFP

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