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Dreamliner: Boeing's most technologically advanced jet

The 787, known as the Dreamliner, is Boeing's newest and most technologically advanced jet and the company is counting heavily on its success.

But since its launch, which came after delays of more than three years, the plane has been plagued by a series of problems including a battery fire and fuel leaks.

Japan's ANA and Japan Airlines are major customers for the jet and among the first to fly it. Both airlines have now grounded their Dreamliners following the latest incident.

Inflatable chutes from the All Nippon Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner plane which made an emergency landing at Takamatsu airport. Credit: REUTERS/KYODO Kyodo

The 787 relies more than any other modern airliner on electrical signals to help power nearly everything the plane does.

It is also the first Boeing plane to use rechargeable lithium ion batteries, which charge faster and can be moulded to space-saving shapes compared to other aircraft batteries. The plane is made with lightweight composite materials instead of aluminium.

The US Federal Aviation Administration said it was "monitoring a preliminary report of an incident in Japan earlier today involving a Boeing 787".


United Airlines to fly Dreamliner from Heathrow

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner will fly from Heathrow to Houston in February Credit: United Airlines

The world's newest passenger plane, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner will make its first crossing across the Atlantic from Heathrow in February.

The plane is set to revolutionise air travel with a host of new features.

United Airlines will make the first flight from to Houston from Heathrow in February. It will also fly from Amsterdam in December.

The Dreamliner was developed at Farmborough and components are built in Hampshire, Dorset, Kent and Sussex.

Inside the Dreamliner Credit: United Airlines

Around one thousand are on order for the plane that burns less fuel and has many passenger benefits including bigger windows, more space and a new clean air system and lighting aimed at reducing jet lag.

Qatar Airways also plan to operate a 787 from Heathrow later this year and both Virgin Atlantic and BA have ordered the plane.

Thomson will be the first UK airline to fly the plane from Gatwick early next year.

Dream start for new airplane

Meridian's correspondent Derek Johnson has visited the USA to see Boeing's Dreamliner aircraft being made. The passenger jet burns less fuel and has a new design which makes it more efficient.

The plane is only possible thanks to work done in the South. The aerodynamic shell was tested in Farnborough, the seats are manufactured in Southend and the navigation system comes from Kent to name but a few. The plane will use Gatwick as its first airport when it comes into service next year.

Flying in a plastic plane

The 'plastic plane' - the new Boeing Dreamliner - is spending this week on its first ever tour of the UK. It got its nickname because its shell is built of carbon and plastic. This means it burns less fuel and emissions are cut by 20 per cent compared with other planes the same size.

The plane was partly developed at Farnborough and companies right around the region build parts for it.

We can reveal the plane will make its first regular trips in the UK from Gatwick early next year. Mike Pearse spoke to Amanda Waterman, Mark Platt, Stuart Gruber and Chris Browne.


Flight of the future?

The new Dreamliner has touched down for the start of its first UK tour. The Boeing 787 is quieter and more fuel efficient than any other plane.

Strict noise limits mean most flights are banned at Heathrow between 11:30pm and 6am. In fact just 16 planes are allowed during that time.

But Meridian can reveal that airlines want quieter planes to land until 1am and start again at 4am.

Our Transport Correspondent Mike Pearse speaks to Willie Walsh of International Airlines Group, Steve Ridgway, Virgin Atlantic Chief Executive, and John Stewart, Heathrow noise campaigner.

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