British Airways is about to take delivery of the first of a huge order for 22 Boeing 787-9 aircraft. Because this is simply a slightly longer version of the original 787-8 Dreamliner it is a fairly low profile event, but the new fleet will herald some major changes.
As it happens, I am scheduled to fly one of these down to Abu Dhabi next Easter so I will able to take a look for myself.
British Airways has a dedicated webpage for the new aircraft which you can find here.
The first flight is due to take place to Delhi on October 25th. Abu Dhabi / Muscat and Kuala Lumpur will follow.
An article in the British Airways staff magazine, which I will not reproduce for copyright reasons, has added some extra information to what we already know. This is what you can expect to find:
These will be four class aircraft, unlike the original 787-8 order which did not have First Class
The aircraft are 20 feet longer than the 787-8
Initial route selection is being driven partly by cargo considerations as these are very fuel efficient aircraft …..
…. apart from Abu Dhabi, which was chosen because Etihad is (and I paraphrase) wiping the floor with BA due to its far superior product offering and ‘all A380’ service from Heathrow
The seating configuration will be:
First Class : 8 seats
Club World : 42 seats
World Traveller Plus: 39 seats
World Traveller: 127 seats
With only eight seats, the First Class cabin will be smaller than the 14 seats found on the Boeing 777 aircraft it is replacing. This is likely to impact Avios reward availability.
The number of Club World seats is slightly smaller (48 seats down to 42) with little change elsewhere on the aircraft.
World Traveller seats will be half an inch wider than those on the 787-8
Whilst not mentioned in the article, a piece in ‘The Times’ yesterday said that seat pitch was also being increased, by one inch
There will be no change to the World Traveller Plus or Club World product
The First Class seat will utilise the same footprint as the A380 seat but with a different layout. The TV will be substantially larger at 23 inches, the tray table will be in a different place and there are more stowage compartments for glasses etc.
In total, British Airways has ordered:
8 x Boeing 787-8
22 x Boeing 787-9
12 x Boeing 787-10 (still in development – this will be a longer plane that the 787-9 but will not be able to fly as far)