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Boeing to deliver 'Dreamliner' jet

Boeing is set to deliver its first 787 jet, which has been a long time coming.

The new jet, which was supposed to be flying passengers three years ago, has been delayed by production and design problems.

But now it is here, and airlines expect it to offer travellers much more comfort, open up new routes and provide significant fuel savings.

The first one goes to Japan's All Nippon Airways, which has been printing the 787 logo and We Fly 1st on its business cards for years. It plans to begin flying the 787 from Tokyo to Okayama-Hiroshima on November 11.

Airlines love the jet, which Boeing calls the Dreamliner. They have ordered more than 800, well above levels for previous new jets.

"A lot of carriers are betting that this is going to be a winner," said George Hamlin, president of Hamlin Transportation Consulting in Fairfax, Virginia.

Instead of the usual aluminium skin, most of the 787 is covered in carbon fibre, basically a high-tech plastic that is strong but lightweight.

Military planes and portions of other jetliners have used that material for years, but this is the first time so much has been used on an airliner.

The material's strength allows windows to be bigger and higher, so passengers do not have to hunch over to see the horizon. Electronic dimming replaces pull-down shades. That should mean you will no longer be blinded when the guy next to you falls asleep with the shade up.

Finally, the cabin is pressurised to the equivalent of 6,000 feet, instead of the usual 8,000 feet. That means air pressure will be closer to what passengers are used to on the ground. And without corrosion-prone aluminium skin, the humidity can be kept higher. Those two changes should reduce dry noses and throats.

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