Toronto welcomes Hainan’s 787 Dreamliner – Photo: Philip Debski
What looked to be the first true spring day here in Toronto, March 31, was the day Hainan Airlines finally inaugurated their 787 service to Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ). They started operating the route in 2010 with three ex-Cathay A340-600s (B-6508, B-6509, and B-6510, if anyone is interested).
Throughout the years the airline has had its ups and downs (such as varying frequency from 3x weekly to once per week) on the route. However, with the 787, Hainan will go daily this summer, a huge improvement to the Beijing-Toronto route. Hainan was also originally supposed to fly the 787 into YYZ starting May 1, but pushed it up to the earlier date in late February.
The Hainan Toronto crew were kind enough to arrange an exclusive tour for me on their big day of receiving the 787 at their base. Here is a rundown of what happened during that tour.
The A350 XWB cabin design – with its smooth curves, flowing lines, innovative lighting, and wide windows – helps create a pleasant and soothing atmosphere for business class travellers – Photo: Airbus
Recently in Germany, Airbus showed off a potential interior for their new Airbus A350 XWB. They shared the second test aircraft, MSN002 with a partial test interior and mock cabin. Even though it looks impressive, at the end of the day, airline customers will be the ones deciding what finishes will go into the aircraft.
Step inside Boeing’s 787-9 Dreamliner ZB002 on this exclusive tour of what is only the world’s second stretched Dreamliner before large-scale production begins ahead of its debut in July with worldwide launch customer Air New Zealand.
Long before any new commercial aircraft takes to the skies with paying passengers on board, manufacturers such as Airbus and Boeing carry out an exhaustive series of flight tests with specially-build aircraft.
The Boeing Dreamliner 787-9, which carries the ZB002 model number, is part of that process for this larger, longer-range version of the original 787-8 Dreamliner.
The “Engineering Class” seats on the 787-9 Dreamliner. Notice the runway design on the floor – Photo: Nick Young | AusBT
The second of three 787-9s dedicated to the new plane’s test program, ZB002 last week flew non-stop from Seattle to Auckland – marking the 787-9’s longest flight, at just under 14 hours – and is now visiting Alice Springs, in the centre of Australia, to undergo extensive heat testing under the sizzling summer sun.
So what’s it like inside of of these special test aircraft?
Time to take a VIP tour of one of TAM’s Boeing 777-300ERs at Paine Field. Photo: David Parker Brown
Recently, I was invited to take a special tour of one of TAM Airlines’ brand-spanking new Boeing 777s that was parked at Paine Field. The plane was so new that Boeing was still prepping it for delivery. How could I refuse?
The aircraft I toured (PT-MUJ) and was TAM’s fourth 777-300ER, which was delivered on August 29th, 2013. The airline has ordered a total of nine of the type.
The 777 is the first aircraft that TAM has equipped with their new First Class product, and I was excited to check it out.
I recently had the opportunity to take a tour of an Antonov AN-124 that was parked next to the Future of Flight at Paine Field. Quite the unique experience — almost like traveling through time. To help to share that experience I also made this video… enjoy.