First United Airlines Boeing 787-9 is almost ready

United's first 787-9, which it will fly from L.A. to Melbourne, is just about ready to fly for the carrier. Photo: United.

United’s first 787-9, which it will fly from L.A. to Melbourne, is just about ready to fly for the carrier. Photo: United.

The first United Airlines Boeing 787-9 has rolled off the assembly line in Everett, Wash., the carrier said this week.

This will be the airplane United uses on the Los Angeles to Melbourne, Australia route, a flight the airline intends to begin in October. It will be operated six times per week.

Yes, United already has 787s, but those are 787-8s. This is a new version. It’s 20 feet longer than United’s current 787 fleet, and it carries 30 more passengers. It also has slightly longer range. It can fly an additional 300 nautical miles, according to United.

Boeing is actually using the United airplane to secure certification for the 787-9 program. It’s one of five airplanes being used that way, United said.

According to Forbes, the L.A.-Melbourne route will be the world’s longest 787 flight, at 7,927 miles.

Air New Zealand is officially the launch customer for the new model. Boeing published some photos of Air New Zealand’s first plane earlier this week.

Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9

 

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Report: Delta seeks new Airbus and Boeing widebody jets

According to Aviation Week, Delta is in the market for more A330s, provide the plane has new, more efficient engines. Rendering: Airbus

According to Aviation Week, Delta is in the market for more A330s, but probably wants the plane to have new more efficient engines than today’s models.  Rendering: Airbus

Delta Air Lines is looking for a replacement airplane for its fleet of widebody Boeing 747s and Boeing 767s, Aviation Week’s Jens Flottau wrote this week.

“The carrier plans to look at four options,” Flottau wrote. “The Airbus A350-900 and -1000, all three models of the Boeing 787, the current versions of the A330 and a re-engined A330.”

What’s interesting is Delta CEO Richard Anderson’s comments about how the carrier does not want to buy airplanes that are not appropriate for the missions they fly. If, for example, Delta wants an airplane to fly the relatively short distance from Atlanta to Europe, it doesn’t need a Boeing 777 with a range of 7,000 or more nautical miles.

“Aircraft that underfly their range are uneconomical,” Aviation Week quotes Anderson as saying. “You cannot make a 777 consistently profitable flying only East Coast to Europe. That would be routes 1,000 or 2,000 naut. mi. shorter than what it was designed for.”

As many readers know, Delta has recently taken a more cautious approach toward buying new airplanes than competitors American and United, which have been aggressive in being the next wave of jetliners, like the Airbus 350 and Boeing 787. Instead, Delta has been buying up both used aircraft, like the 717s it acquired from Southwest, and new versions of older planes, like the A330 with older technology engines.

Which jets would you like to see Delta buy?

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Royal Brunei Airlines — the airline on which you can (apparently) bring your own booze

This interior belongs to Royal Brunei Airlines. Photo courtesy of the airline.

This interior belongs to Royal Brunei Airlines. Photo courtesy of the airline.

I should never doubt my readers. Last week, I posted the photograph above and asked if anyone could name the airline pictured. One reader guessed correctly: It’s Royal Brunei Airlines.

Royal Brunei is flag carrier airline of the Sultanate of Brunei, based in Bandar Seri Begawan. It has 12 airplanes, including two 787s, and flies to more than 12 destinations, including London, Singapore, Melbourne and Dubai, according to its route map. Wikipedia says Royal Brunei does not serve alcohol on board, but that passengers can bring their own. So that’s interesting.

Want more information about Royal Brunei’s route structure? The CAPA Centre for Aviation has compiled an excellent analysis of the airline’ s business model.  

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LAX to get new nonstop flights to Oslo, Copenhagen and Stockholm

Los Angeles will soon have nonstop service to three new Scandinavian destinations.

Norwegian, a discount European Airline, announced Tuesday it will offer flights in 2014 between LAX and Stockholm, Copenhagen and Oslo using a Boeing 787. LAX currently has no nonstop flights to the three cities, so this is progress for the nation’s third largest airport. Fares start at $236 each way — a relative steal.

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