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New Boeing Dreamliner unveiled

Tuesday 08 Apr 2014 7:12p.m.

New Boeing Dreamliner unveiled

The delivery of Air New Zealand's new Boeing Dreamliners has been a long time coming. 

The Dreamliner production has been famously delayed, and the purchase of 10 aircraft worth roughly $200 million each is a massive investment by Air New Zealand. 

Now, more than five years since it was first supposed to have arrived, the first one is almost here. 

Reporter Lachlan Forsyth travelled to Seattle courtesy of Air New Zealand, and was there as the very first 787-9 Dreamliner was unveiled. 

At a time when the world is still searching for a missing Boeing airliner, the company invited Campbell Live inside, allowing a glimpse at a technology they're at pains to point out is safe. 

Head of Chicago-based Boeing Mark Jenks and his team have been working on the project for a long time. 

"We've learned lessons, had a lot of challenges along the way, but really the development of the 787-9 taking all of those lessons from the early part of the programme has gone very smoothly," says Mr Jenks 

Mr Jenks believes that flying is the safest way to travel today – all you need to do is look at the statistics. 

In the Boeing production line, in between 787 line and 777 line, are offices, cafeterias, gyms, sleeping areas. The workers live, breathe and dream airplanes. And many thousands of people contribute to every aircraft that rolls onto the tarmac. 

"We have a huge team around the world working really non-stop over a period over that long," says Mr Jenks, speaking on behalf of the Boeing team who have worked on this for over four years now. 

Forty-thousand people work at the Seattle-based site alone – that's the population of Timaru. 

Air New Zealand's Captain David Morgan believes this occasion is a milestone for Boeing and the aviation industry. 

"We will be the first airline in the world to bring this aircraft into service," says Capt Morgan. 

He promises that customers will enjoy a better ride with lower cabin altitude, a smoother ride, and bigger windows.

"The technology in construction with composite material, engine technology from Rolls Royce," says Capt Morgan. "Also the technology on the flight deck will make this aeroplane very efficient and very effective, 20 percent more economical than comparable aircraft of the same size today."

Of course, Boeing is in the spotlight at the moment - one of their planes has gone missing, with little idea of how or why. 

The big question after the disappearance of MH370 is can this plane disappear? 

"It has the latest technology on it, all of our planes do," says Capt Morgan.

If that sounds a little vague, technology varies between countries, aircraft and airlines. 

But Air New Zealand's chief pilot is unequivocal, saying they can't lose one of their planes.

"The technology here is such that it's impossible to lose the aircraft these days," says Capt Morgan. "The reality is the technology exists today, we utilise it, and we will not lose our aircraft." 

It'll still be a few months before delivery, with final certification, interior fit-out and a few other formalities to deal with.

But after such a long wait it's almost here, and it's already got our name on it. 

Campbell Live