A New Era in Flying

One corner of the National Business Travel Association International Convention and Expo at the Brown Convention Center was bustling with excitement, as a mockup cabin of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner took the spotlight. Dave Hilfman is Continental's senior VP for worldwide sales. He says the interior environment features larger windows, a more spacious cabin, increased overhead storage for carry-on luggage and ambient lighting.

Dave Hilfman, Sr. VP Worldwide Sales, Continental AirlinesDave Hilfman, Senior VP Worldwide Sales, Continental Airlines, standing in the 787 cabin mockup

"This airplane is 20 percent more fuel efficient. That's great for the airline of course, also better for customers because we're able to provide great fares, and when you're able to keep costs down, it's better for the consumer, right? And this airplane of course, has 20 percent fewer emissions, because we're burning 20 percent less fuel. The fact that it is made out of carbon composites, stronger material and light material. So, it allows us to do so many things that you just just can't do today."

Boeing struggled with ongoing problems for the Dreamliner, which put it almost three years behind schedule. But Jeff Casey with Boeing says it is still the most successful pre-order launch of a commercial aircraft in the history of aviation.

"The physicality experience of flying will be dramatically changed, because the drag of long distance travel on your body will significantly altered. You're gonna just feel a whole lot better. So, 55 global airlines have already committed to 847 airplanes. The deliveries start with our first launch customer at the end of this year 2010, and then next year, the first North American carrier will be Continental Airlines."

The 787 will seat 228 people and will cost between $161 to $200 million, depending on the model. Casey says Boeing has firm orders for 25 Drealiners from Continental.

Pat Hernandez, KUHF News.
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