The first British Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner has arrived at Heathrow to join 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 yesterday. It is the first of 22 787-9 Dreamliners that the airline has ordered from Boeing. The next aircraft is due to arrive in mid-October and a further two more are expected by the end of the year.
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.”
This new aircraft will start flying to Delhi from the 25th October, 2015 followed by Abu Dhabi and Muscat from the 5th November, 2015. The Boeing 787-9 will also fly to Kuala Lumpur in December and in February the aircraft will begin flights to Austin.
The 787-9 is 20ft longer than the 787-8. This has allowed BA to offer World Traveller (economy), World Traveller Plus (premium economy), Club World (business class) and the return of the First class cabin. This new First class cabin is made up of eight seats in comparison to the usual 14 – 17 seats on other British Airways long-haul aircraft.
Passenger feedback has helped to design the new First cabin for the Boeing 787-9. Along with comfort the im is for passengers to experience and make the very best use of the more intimate space available on board.
The suites now include four new storage areas. There is a new ottoman next to the adjustable footstool that has enough room for shoes, handbags and personal items, while the personal suiter for jackets and coats is now accessible without the passenger having to move from their seat.
You will find a new locker positioned at eye-level which is perfect for smaller personal effects such as tablets, spectacles, passport and wash-bags. There is also a handy mirror that has been fitted to the inside of the locker door for personal grooming.
Passengers who need to charge any electronic 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 passenger 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. During a flight, the handset can be docked so that passengers 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, lumbar inflate and a ‘global’ lighting control to set both ambient and reading lighting.
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.
With a total of 42 787 aircraft expected to join British Airways, the aircraft is to become the mainstay of the airline’s fleet.