If you thought the magic of international air travel had long gone, it's time to think again. The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner, scheduled to come into service in 2008, is pioneering new technology and a new interior designed to provide unparalleled environmental performance and passenger comfort.
Although the 787 Dreamliner programme is being developed by Boeing Commercial Airplanes, the project sees partnerships with a host of other top aerospace companies. And while advances in engine technology from General Electric and Rolls-Royce will contribute as much as 8% increased efficiency, one of the key changes involves the aircraft's composition.
Most of the major sections of the airplane the fuselage, tail and wings will be made from composite materials, which offer many advantages for passengers.
Blake Emery, director of differentiation strategy for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, says because today's commercial airplanes are primarily metal, they are certified to be pressurised to a maximum altitude equivalent of 8000ft to minimise structural fatigue during normal operation.
"The 787 will be pressurised to a maximum altitude equivalent of 6000ft during normal operation," he says. "This is made possible by the stronger, more durable composite materials, which are not subject to the same fatigue conditions."
The composite materials also allow for larger windows and higher humidity to provide passengers with a more comfortable flight. As well as increasing humidity, however, the company has also added new filtration technologies.