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Dreamliner touches down in Newcastle for flying visit
THE MOST technologically advanced passenger aircraft caused a frisson of excitement among holidaymakers, plane spotters and airport staff when it touched down for a flying visit to the North-East today (Thursday, August 8).
British Airways’ first Boeing 787 was welcomed to Newcastle International Airport as part of preparations for introducing the aircraft to long-haul flying in September.
Captain Mitch Preston, who led the programme to introduce the Dreamliner into service at British Airways and helped fly the aircraft to Newcastle, said on his arrival: “I am impossibly excited about this airplane. I love it.
“I have been working on this programme for over six years now, so for me to finally have my hands on the aircraft is tremendously exciting.
“It’s like having a brand new toy, but also professionally it is a greatly satisfying moment to reach a milestone in bringing it to Newcastle.”
He added: “The Dreamliner is built almost entirely from composite materials - the same stuff Formula One cars are built of.
“It is tremendously strong, you can keep the cruise altitude lower, making the atmosphere inside the cabin is more comfortable for the customers.
“And it has tremendous fly-by-wire software, which effectively is like very clever suspension in a car, smoothing out a lot of the turbulence and making it a really comfortable smooth ride as well.”
The Dreamliner also boasts the largest windows of any commercial aircraft, with “mood lighting” in every cabin set to reflect the time of day.
It burns 20 per cent less fuel than rivals planes and generates 60 per cent less noise.
The passenger jet was beset by delays before BA took delivery – with a series of battery problems leading to the grounding of the plane in January.
But BA executives are confident any “teething problems” problems have now been ironed out.
Operations director Andy Lord said: “Safety is British Airways number one priority. We would not be putting aircraft into service if we were not 100 per cent confident in it.
“The airplane is compliant with all the regulatory requirements that have been issued and I wouldn’t be standing here if I didn’t have the confidence to do it.
“So I would say to anybody who has any concerns not to worry about it at all.
“The Boeing 787 and British Airways service will be a fantastic experience and I would encourage anybody to go ahead and start booking now.”
Richard Tams, British Airways’ head of UK & I sales and marketing said: “We’re very excited to have flown our new Boeing 787 Dreamliner into Newcastle International Airport, which hundreds of thousands of our customers use every year to transfer onto international flights at Heathrow.
“Our customers in the north of England are hugely important to us, and we wanted them to be among the first to see the new aircraft and to learn about all the benefits it brings”
The Dreamliner begins flying direct from Heathrow to Toronto, from September 1, and to Newark, New York, from October 1.
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