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Edinburgh holds first Dreamliner passenger flight

A Dreamliner flight operated by British Airways. Picture: BA

A Dreamliner flight operated by British Airways. Picture: BA

  • by ALASTAIR DALTON
 

BRITISH Airways will tomorrow underline its faith in the fault-plagued Boeing 787 Dreamliner by staging the airline’s first passenger flight using the aircraft from Edinburgh airport.

BA will take business and city council leaders on a 90-minute flight over the Highlands and Islands as part of a publicity tour ahead of the Dreamliner going into service on the Heathrow-Toronto route on 1 September.

Passengers are expected to include Gleneagles Hotel chairman Peter Lederer, VisitScotland chairman Mike Cantlay, Harvey Nichols regional stores director Gordon Drummond and Edinburgh Lord Provost Donald Wilson.

The aircraft is due to arrive at 2pm, to be welcomed by BA operations director Andy Lord.

BA’s three Dreamliners are also due to start flying on the Heathrow-New York (Newark) route from 1 October, with a further 21 on order.

BA’s Heathrow flights from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen are the airports’ busiest routes, but the airline said the Dreamliner will not operate them.

Thomson Airways launched Dreamliners on its Glasgow to Florida and Mexico routes since last month.

The aircraft can fly further and more economically than similar sized aircraft, with its lower noise and lower-pressure cabins claimed to reduce the effects of jet lag.

However, the plane has been beset by a series of faults, including a fire and emergency landings, with the worldwide fleet grounded for three months until April because of overheated batteries.

An empty Ethiopian Airlines aircraft caught fire at Heathrow last month, which was traced to its emergency location transmitter.

In the latest incident, Polish airline LOT today cancelled two Dreamliner flights to Beijing because an onboard computer had to be reset, taking several hours.

Willie Walsh, chief executive of BA parent firm IAG, said last week that the Dreamliner was a “fantastic aircraft” and most new plane models had “teething problems”, but he conceded that the grounding of an entire fleet was unusual.

Simon Scholey, British Airways’ chief technical pilot, who will be on the flight deck tomorrow, said: “Serving the people of Scotland is enormously important for British Airways, so it seemed right that the first ever customer flight will take place here.”

 

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