United Continental has confirmed the first of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft has entered the assembly phase at Boeing’s facility in Everett, Washington.
In early 2012, United will be the first North American carrier to take delivery of the aircraft, marking the first of 50 Dreamliners for the airline.
All Nippon Airways is expecting to receive its first Dreamliner in the next few weeks, as it prepares to become the launch customer.
During assembly of the United plane, Boeing will join the forward, centre and aft fuselage sections, the wings, the horizontal stabiliser and the vertical fin.
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The first United 787 will be configured with 36 flat-bed seats in BusinessFirst, 63 extra-legroom seats in Economy Plus and 120 seats in Economy.
Customers will experience improved lighting, bigger windows, larger overhead bins, increased cabin humidity, reduced cabin pressure and enhanced ventilation systems, among other passenger-friendly features.
“We are proud to be the first North American airline to receive the 787, which will be a game changer for the new United and the industry,” said United Airlines President and chief executive Jeff Smisek.
“The 787 will be a very comfortable, customer pleasing aircraft, and with its range, fuel efficiency and superb operating economics, the 787 will allow us to enter new long-haul markets and also replace older, less-efficient widebody aircraft.”
United Continental Holdings subsidiaries Continental and United each ordered 25 of the state-of-the-art aircraft.
The company will announce the 787 flight schedule later this year.