Air Canada shows off the new Boeing 787 - that's one dreamy airplane
As part of their 75th anniversary celebrations, Air Canada invited some media types and elite fliers up to Pearson today to check out Boeing's 787 Dreamliner.
The new plane is making its first-ever visit to Canada, and Air Canada made quite the show of it, with balloons and cake and flash and a fashion show (had to miss that, sorry) and, best of all, a chance to check out the plane.
While Airbus has gone crazy with the A-380 super jumbo, Boeing is taking a different tack with the 787, which seats from 210 to 290 people and is designed to fly a moderate number of people on long-distance flights. The plane isn't all metal but instead the hull has a great deal of composite material in it, which reduces fuel consumption by a whopping 30 per cent. That means Air Canada could use it fly from, say, Toronto to Chengdu, China or perhaps a secondary city in Europe or Latin America that wouldn't be economical on a fuel-burning 747.
"It's not economical to fly a half-full or two-thirds full 747," one official from Air Canada told me at the big do. "This plane gives us a lot more options."
"We can explore more mid-range city pairings and look at new routes" with the 787, said Craig Landry, vice president of marketing. "The 787 is a big part of Air Canada's business strategy."
It's also designed to be much more comfortable for passengers. Because there's so much composite material used, they don't have to worry as much about rust. That means they can hike the humidity on board to something like 12 per cent; roughly double or more what most planes have now. The cabin pressure also can be reduced, which means more blood flow for folks strapped into a seat for hours on end.
The windows, which are 30 per cent larger than most, don't have pull-down shades but instead have an electronic "dial" that allows passengers to fly in almost total shade or full light, with a variety of settings. Even the overhead bins have been thought out, making them deeper and capable of holding more stuff but also at a rakish angle that keeps folks from bumping their heads. And there's cool mood lighting designed to make things more pleasant, as well.
Air Canada has committed to purchase 37 Dreamliners with first delivery in 2014.
They're still tweaking their design for the interior, so the plane on display yesterday isnt' the same as what AC passengers will ride in.
"There are going to be some surprises," Air Canada chief Calin Rovinescu told me.
"There are going to be good surprises."