Boeing's 787 tested in Colorado Springs; Continental plans route for new jet
Thursday, May 27, 2010, 8:06am
Denver Business Journal - by Mark Harden
One of the Boeing Co.'s test versions of its new 787 Dreamliner jet was in Colorado Springs the last few days for tests at a high-altitude airport.
The jet -- one of four in the Chicago jetmaker's 787 test fleet -- was stationed in Colorado Springs for several days "for a short series of high-field-elevation tests," Boeing said in a statement Wednesday. The jet left Colorado Springs Airport Wednesday and flew to California, according to the FlightAware tracking website.
Earlier this month, another 787 conducted touch-and-go maneuvers in Colorado Springs, the company said.
The jet recently in the Springs was earlier tested in Mesa, Ariz., under low-altitude, hot-weather conditions.
The mid-sized, long-range Dreamliner will carry from 210 to 290 passengers on routes of 7,650 to 8,500 miles, depending on the model. It is designed to use 20 percent less fuel than comparably sized planes.
It's a jet that Denver leaders see as key to opening new air routes from Denver International Airport to Tokyo and possibly other Asian destinations.
Tom Clark, executive VP of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp., told the Denver Business Journal last December that the mid-sized 787 was designed by Boeing for smaller markets like Denver, and could be key to opening up new routes between Denver and Asia, possibly flown by All Nippon Airways, which has placed a large 787 order. (Click here for Clark's analysis.)
Over the last six months, Boeing's 787 test jets have logged 840 hours of flying time. Boeing (NYSE: BA) expects to add two more jets to the Dreamliner test fleet soon.
In other 787 news, Continental Airlines became the first carrier to announce plans to use the 787 on a specific route.
Continental (NYSE: CAL) said Wednesday it plans to start flying the jet on Nov. 16, 2011, between its Houston hub and Auckland, New Zealand, subject to government approval.
Continental plans to merge with United Airlines, the largest carrier at DIA, if approved by shareholders and regulators.