Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner will return to New Zealand today, visiting Auckland and Christchurch on the final leg of Boeing’s global DreamTour series of promotional flights.
The next-generation jet is due into Auckland airport around 3pm, after a five-day sojourn in Sydney as a guest of Qantas and Jetstar.
Kiwi flag-carrier Air New Zealand is the launch customer for the 787-9 version of the Dreamliner, which is a stretched model of the 787-8 with a seating capacity of around 300 in a three-class layout of business, premium economy and economy.
(Air New Zealand is expected to outfit its Dreamliners with the latest Business Premier, premium economy Spaceseat and economy Skycouch seats.)
The first Dreamliner in the AirNZ fleet is expected to take to the skies at the end of 2014, with nine more to follow.
The Boeing 787 is constructed from 50 per cent composite materials and according to Boeing uses 20 per cent less fuel and has a noise footprint 60 per cent lower than similarly-sized aircraft.
Dreamliner: dressed to impress
Unlike the Boeing 787 demonstrator which flew into Auckland late last year packing racks of sophisticated test equipment, this week’s visit will feature a Dreamliner dressed to impress.
The special DreamTour airplane – bearing registration number N787BX, serial number ZA003 and flying under callsign BOE 787, if you’re into that sort of thing – is designed to showcase key ‘passenger experience’ features of the 787.
This includes the large welcoming entrance, super-sized windows with electronic dimming, bigger overhead and dynamic LED lighting.
The airplane is also configured with 135 seats, 35 of which (that's as many as aviation authorities will allow on this test aircraft) will carry Air New Zealand staff, invited VIPs and media on a special flight from Auckland to Christchurch and back tomorrow, Wednesday May 30.
Air New Zealand will also conduct on-the-ground tours of the 787 for selected members of its Air Points frequent flyer programme before the Dreamliner jets off to Darwin on Thursday afternoon.
How to see the Boeing 787 at Auckland and Christchurch airports
While the general public won't have access to the aircraft, you'll still have a few chances to catch a glimpse of the Boeing 787 at Auckland and Christchurch airports.
For the best chance of knowing when to look for the 787, you can use the free FlightAware website or apps to track the flight.
The special DreamTour airplane flies under the callsign BOE787, for which there's a live FlightAware web page already available.
If you're using one of the FlightAware mobile apps for your smartphone or tablet – they're available for the iPhone and iPad plus Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone devices – plug in BOE787 as the flight number to search for.
It's also worth firing up Twitter to follow Air New Zealand (@FlyAirNZ) for updates on the 787's timetable.
For more news, reviews and the very latest info for business travellers, follow us on Twitter: we're @AusBT.
Also in AusBT's extensive Boeing 787 Dreamliner coverage...
Check out the cool and potentially shagadelhic upstairs 'loft' space used by pilot and flight attendants during their scheduled breaks from duty on the 787. Read more...
Bothersome sliding window shades begone! Boeing’s newly-minted 787 Dreamliner sports ‘digital window tinting’ which makes the glass go dark at the touch of a button. Read more...
Japanese airline ANA is Boeing's launch customer for the 787 Dreamliner – step right up for a 'virtual photo tour' of ANA's factory-fresh 787 which we snapped during Boeing's launch of the Dreamliner in Seattle. Read more...
What's it like to fly in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner? We visited Tokyo as a guest of ANA for a special 90 minute ‘excursion flight’ from Narita which provided a taste of what the Dreamliner will deliver for travellers (and yes, there's much more than rainbow-like cabin lighting). Read more...
JAL followed in the footsteps of competitor ANA with delivery of its first 787. Read more...
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