The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is the world’s first airliner constructed primarily of composite materials. Produced at Boeing’s Everett factory in Washington state, USA over 1,400 have been ordered by airlines worldwide with nearly 800 in service as of January 2019.
Rolls-Royce and General Electric compete to provide the two turbofan engines for each Boeing 787 with GE having the bulk of the orders – about 800 compared to Rolls’ 450.
Made in three variants seating between 242 and 335 passengers, the Boeing 787 has enabled airlines to increase their efficiency. The Boeing 787 excellent operating range has also allowed the introduction of ultra long-haul routes including London, England to Perth, Australia and Santiago, Chile. It faces increasing competition from the newer Airbus A350 but with a healthy order book the Boeing 787 will remain a key part of airline fleets for decades to come.
FIRST AND LARGEST CUSTOMER – ALL NIPPON AIRWAYS (ANA)
ANA introduced the Boeing 787 into commercial service in October 2011 with a flight from Tokyo Narita to Hong Kong. The airline now has 66 Boeing 787s in service with 17 more on order. ANA has the largest fleet of any Japanese airline and operates an extensive domestic network alongside its international routes.
Most of the fleet wear ANA’s smart blue and white livery but one Boeing 787 is painted in a Star Wars R2-D2 livery. Models and plastic kits are only currently available in the standard livery, but perhaps pressure from collectors and modellers will persuade one of the manufacturers to make this model, which would also appeal to sci-fi fans.
I know many people were sad to see the end of American Airlines’ polished metal “AA” livery but with increased composite use in airliner manufacture the move was inevitable. I like American’s new logo which I think is smart, modern and suitably proud of the airlines nationality.
American operates 40 Boeing 787s with 27 on order. Herpa and Hogan both make high-quality models of this smart airliner in one of the smartest liveries it carries.
AA’s big rival, United Airlines, has an almost identically-sized Boeing 787 fleet to its competitor and was the first North American carrier to order the type. Herpa and Skymarks make models of the jet in the livery United has carried since its merger with Continental Airlines.
Ethiopian Airlines was the first African carrier to order and operate the Boeing 787 and now uses both the Boeing 787-8 and 787-9 variants on its growing route network from Addis Ababa. Its operating base at Bole airport is 7,625 feet above sea level.
The airlines current livery, carried on all its Boeing 787s, is an adaptation of the logo the airline has had since its creation in the 1950s. I remember their Boeing 720s being an exotic sight at Heathrow in the 1970s. It is a testament to the development of the airline since then that it has become Africa’s largest carrier and a regular sight at airports throughout the world. The red, gold and green tail fin based on the colours of the Ethiopian flag stands out at airport terminals. Models of Ethiopian Boeing 787s are less common than some airlines but are made by Inflight and Myasianart among others.
Qatar is one of the big “ME3” airlines (the others being Emirates and Etihad) that hardly existed 20 or so years ago but have come to be major players in the commercial airline world. They have a fleet of 30 Boeing 787 Dreamliners with a similar number on back order.
Ever wondered what animal that is on Qatar Airlines tail fins? I thought it was a gazelle, but it’s an oryx, a type of antelope. Who said model airliners couldn’t be educational?
Herpa make a good quality, good value model of the Qatar Boeing 787. High quality desktop models of the type are available from GS Models.
The British arm of International Airlines Group (IAG) operates 30 Boeing 787s and has more on order. It will operate all three variants – the Boeing 787-8, 787-9 and 787-10. The airliner has enabled BA to introduce new long-haul routes from its Heathrow hub to Santiago, Chile (an 11,647 kilometre, 15-hour flight) and to US destinations including Austin, Nashville and Charleston.
A wide range of models in varying sizes is available of the BA Boeing 787 including die cast toys, plastic snap fit models and high quality desktop models.
The first ever non-stop scheduled commercial air service between Europe and Australia began in March 2018 when Qantas started flying a Boeing 787 from London Heathrow to Perth with onward service to Melbourne.
This is another Boeing 787 operator for whom models are available in a wide variety of sizes and types.
Many other airlines operate the Boeing 787 including LATAM, Air India, Virgin Atlantic and Air France. Information on these and available models will follow in a future update.