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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 May 2007, 14:08 GMT 15:08 UK
Boeing assembles first 787 plane
Computer generated image of Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner
The 787s is predominantly made of carbon composite materials
Boeing has started final assembly of its first 787 Dreamliner jet.

The plane is coming to life at Boeing's main US production facility near Seattle, Washington from parts first made as far away as Italy and Japan.

Boeing now plans to carry out the first test flights in August before initial deliveries to airlines in May 2008.

The medium-sized 787 is Boeing's first all-new commercial plane in more than 10 years, and has so far attracted 568 orders from 44 airlines.

Its success - so far at least - is in marked contrast to the problems at European rival Airbus over its A380 superjumbo.

The giant twin-deck A380 is now running two years late due to a major rewiring problem.

The first Boeing 787 Dreamliner being assembled

Airbus has only gained 161 orders to date for the A380, which is due to start commercial service by the end of this year.

Giant structure

Boeing said the main body of each 787 will arrive at its main assembly plant in six pieces from around the world.

They are then being joined together within a giant support structure called the MOATT - which stands for the "mother of all tool towers".

"The 787 not only will revolutionize air travel, it represents a new way of building aeroplanes," said Boeing's vice-president of aeroplane design and production Scott Strode.

With a main body and wings predominantly made of carbon composite materials, Boeing says it has made the 787 as light as possible - thus saving 20% on fuel costs.

It will carry between 210 and 330 passengers, depending upon the seat configuration, and will have a range of up to 8,200 miles (15,000 km).

Boeing said it will take about seven weeks to assemble the first plane, but that by the 100th, it expects to lower this time to six days per aircraft.

The company plans to produce 112 Dreamliners in the two years after the first delivery of the plane in May 2008.

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Boeing raises 787 delivery target
22 Dec 05 |  Business

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