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Despite stalled growth in China, Brazil and Russia, a wave of newly middle-class travelers from the BRICs and beyond will start visiting international destinations in the coming decades — dwarfing the numbers we’ve seen thus far.
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As the Dreamliner faces renewed scrutiny, we look back at the delays and problems that have hindered it for nearly six years.
April 26, 2004 – All Nippon Airways (ANA) becomes the launch customer for the Dreamliner, with the first of 50 planes to be delivered in 2008. By the end of 2004, total orders had reached 237. First flight scheduled for autumn 2007.
July 8, 2007 – first 787 unveiled at Boeing’s Everett assembly factory, with 677 orders already received. Initial plan is for aircraft to enter commercial service in May 2008.
September 5, 2007 – three-month delay to first flight announced, due to shortage of fasteners and incomplete software.
October 10, 2007 – second three-month delay to first flight, and six-month delay to first deliveries, due to problems with foreign and domestic supply chain, ongoing fastener shortage and software issues.
January 16, 2008 – third three-month delay to first flight.
April 9, 2008 – fourth delay announced. Maiden flight rescheduled for fourth quarter of 2008, initial deliveries put back 15 months to third quarter of 2009.
November 4, 2008 – fifth delay, due to incorrect fastener installation and strike by Boeing staff. First flight rescheduled for second quarter of 2009. Several airlines state intention to seek compensation for delays.
June 15, 2009 – at the Paris Air Show, Boeing claims the 787’s maiden flight will take place within two weeks. Eight days later it is postponed “due to a need to reinforce an area within the side-of-body section of the aircraft”. First flight rescheduled for end of 2009.
December 12, 2009 – Dreamliner completes high-speed taxi tests and three days later makes its maiden flight (more than two years behind schedule). Originally to last four hours, it landed an hour early due to bad weather. Nine-month test programme announced.
June 2010 – problems found on horizontal stabilisers of test aircraft. All planes inspected and repaired.
August 2, 2010 – Trent 1000 engine suffers blowout at Rolls-Royce facility during ground testing. Failure causes further delays – first delivery to ANA put back to early 2011.
November 9, 2010 – 787 makes emergency landing after electrical fire during test flight above Texas. Flight testing suspended the following day. Tests resume on December 23.
January 2011 – first delivery rescheduled for third quarter of 2011, due to software and electrical updates following in-flight fire.
August 26, 2011 – US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and European Air Safety Agency certify the 787, clearing the way for deliveries.
September 25, 2011 – first Dreamliner delivered to ANA, more than three years behind schedule.
October 26, 2011 – first commercial flight, from Narita to Hong Kong. Tickets sold in an online auction, with the highest bidder paying $34,000 for a seat.
February 6, 2012 – Boeing says it has discovered a manufacturing error that requires repairs in the fuselage section of some Dreamliners.
July 23, 2012 – ANA says it is having five Dreamliners repaired for a defect in their Rolls-Royce engines.
July 28, 2012 – A 787 suffers engine failure during testing in South Carolina. US authorities announce investigation.
September 5, 2012 – ANA aborts the take-off of a Dreamliner after what appears to be white smoke is seen billowing from the plane’s left engine, believed to be due to a glitch with the hydraulic system.
October 4, 2012 – General Electric recommends new inspections of its GEnx engines, used on some Boeing 747 and 787 aircraft, following the failure of an engine on a 747 operated by Air Bridge Cargo in Shanghai on September 11.
December 5, 2012 – The FAA orders inspections of all Dreamliners in service following reports of fuel leaks.
January 7, 2013 – a fire breaks out on an empty Japan Airlines (JAL) Dreamliner in Boston.
January 8, 2013 – a JAL 787 suffers fuel leak, forcing a flight from Boston to be cancelled. A crack in a cockpit windshield grounds an ANA Dreamliner.
January 9, 2013 – United Airlines reports problem with wiring near the main batteries on one of its six 787s. Safety investigation launched by US National Transportation Safety Board.
January 11, 2013 – second JAL aircraft found to have a fuel leak.
January 13, 2013 – JAL reports fuel leak on another of its Dreamliners. Japan’s transport ministry launches its own investigation.
January 16, 2013 – ANA flight from Ube to Tokyo Haneda diverted after burning smell detected. Inspection revealed a battery fire. Similar incident on a JAL 787s at Boston Logan sees all 50 Boeing 787s in service grounded. Deliveries halted until battery problems resolved.
April 5, 2013 – final tests on new batteries completed. Flights resume on April 26.
June 2, 2013 – JAL finds problem with air pressure sensor that detects overheating in one of its Dreamliners.
June 23, 2013 – United Airlines flight makes emergency landing at Houston due to problems with its brake system.
July 12, 2013 – fire breaks out on an empty Ethiopian Airlines 787 at Heathrow, forcing the airport to temporarily close. Investigation finds fire was caused by lithium-manganese dioxide batteries powering an emergency locator transmitter.
July 18, 2013 – JAL Dreamliner flight from Boston aborted “due to a maintenance message (fuel pump) indicator”.
July 22, 2013 – Qatar Airways confirms grounding on a 787 due to problems with an electrical panel.
July 24, 2013 – oven overheats on Air India flight, prompting investigation.
July 26, 2013 – ANA finds damage to battery wiring on two Dreamliner emergency beacons, the same device suspected of causing fire at Heathrow.
July 27, 2013 – United Airlines also discovers problem with emergency beacon.