British Airways’ first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner arrived at Heathrow this morning to take its place in the airline’s fleet.
Following an eight hour 45 minute flight from Seattle, the aircraft (registration G-ZBKA) touched down at its new home at 8.50am local time. It is the first of 22 787-9s the airline is set to receive from Boeing, with the next due to arrive in mid-October and a further two expected by the end of the year.
To mark the arrival of the new Dreamliner, British Airways has released a time-lapse video of the aircraft being built in Seattle: http://ba.uk/787timelapse
Mitch Preston, British Airways’ flight technical manager for the Boeing 787 fleet and the pilot who flew the aircraft to Heathrow, said: “It’s always a privilege to be the first pilot to fly an aircraft on its delivery flight. I was lucky enough to bring our first 787-8 to Heathrow in 2013 too.
“Flying with just the small delivery team on board is a very different experience to a normal flight with customers on board. I’m really looking forward the first one of those – I think our customers will really enjoy the latest addition to our fleet.”
The new aircraft will start flying to Delhi from October 25, 2015 followed by Abu Dhabi and Muscat from November 5, 2015. The 787-9 will also fly to Kuala Lumpur in December and in February the aircraft will start flights to Austin.
The 787-9 is 20ft longer that its 787-8 predecessor (of which the airline has eight), so as well as offering World Traveller (economy), World Traveller Plus (premium economy) and Club World (business class), there’s also room for a new First cabin – a first for the airline’s 787 fleet.
The First cabin has just eight seats in comparison to the 14 seats* available on other British Airways long-haul aircraft, giving even more exclusivity and privacy to customers.
Created specifically for the Boeing 787-9, the new cabin has been painstakingly designed based on feedback from First customers, to put comfort at the heart of the experience and make the very best use of the more intimate space.
The suites now include four new storage areas. A new ottoman next to the adjustable footstool has enough room for shoes, handbags and personal items, while the personal suiter for jackets and coats is now accessible without the customer having to move from their seat.
A new locker positioned at eye-level is perfect for smaller personal effects such as tablets, spectacles, passport and wash-bags. A handy mirror has also been fitted to the inside of the locker door for personal grooming.
Customers who need to charge any devices can now do so in a discreet stowage area next to their armrest.
Great attention to detail has also been paid to how the customer uses their suite, with each function being controlled by simple, intuitive touch.
The seat and in-flight entertainment console has been updated with a new handset, much like a smartphone, integrated into the seat from which travellers can control their in-flight entertainment. During flight, the handset can be docked so that customers are also able to watch one item, such as the moving map, on the handset and another, such as a film, on the 23inch fixed screen. This also means travellers will be able to enjoy gate-to-gate entertainment, without having to stow their television for take-off and landing.
The smart ‘jog-dial’, that previously controlled the seat’s recline, now manages five additional functions including the headrest and lumbar inflate and a ‘global’ lighting control to set both ambient and reading lighting.
The airline also has a short video of the new First to give customers a feel for the cabin: 787-9 Dreamliner First
The aircraft will now go in to an intensive ‘entry into service’ programme, which will include ground trials and familiarisation trips, before it begins flying to Delhi on October 25.
The 787s are the most technologically advanced aircraft in British Airways’ fleet. Different pressurisation means the internal cabin altitude is the equivalent of 6,000ft, which is 2,000ft lower than on other aircraft. This leads to greater humidity, reducing the drying effect of the cabin air, so customers arrive feeling more refreshed. The aircraft’s smooth ride technology also provides extra comfort during any turbulence.
With a total of 42 787s destined to join British Airways, the aircraft is to become the mainstay of the airline’s fleet.