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Boeing Unveils 'green' Dreamliner Passenger Jet

The eyes of the aviation world will be fixed on Boeing here Sunday when the US aircraft giant unveils its 787 Dreamliner , the "green" passenger jet it hopes will revolutionize air travel.

The mid-sized plane, which seats up to 330 passengers and is capable of flying long-haul routes using up to 20 percent less fuel while pumping out fewer greenhouse gases, will be rolled out for 300 gathered media.

The 787 -- Boeing's first new model in 13 years -- will make its maiden test flight later this year before going into commercial service with Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA) in 2008.

The new aircraft boasts several revolutionary design features, most notably the use of high-tech plastic composites instead of aluminium.

Up to 50 percent of the primary structure of the plane -- including the fuselage and wing -- will be made of composites such as carbon-fiber.

"By manufacturing a one-piece fuselage section, we are eliminating 1,500 aluminum sheets and 40,000 - 50,000 fasteners," Boeing said in a statement.

The composites used in the Dreamliner are also stronger and lighter than traditional materials, allowing the plane greater fuel efficiency.

"In addition to bringing big-jet ranges to mid-size airplanes, the 787 will provide airlines with unmatched fuel efficiency, resulting in exceptional environmental performance," Boeing has said. "The airplane will use 20 percent less fuel for comparable missions than today's similarly sized airplane."

Lower fuel-costs could in theory lead to cheaper long-haul travel, aviation industry analysts say.

Richard Aboulafia, chief analyst with the Teal Group Corporation, said the Dreamliner was poised to revolutionize air travel if its projected rates of fuel-efficiency proved accurate.

"If you look at it from an airline standpoint: you don't have a choice," Aboulafia told AFP. "If you don't have a 787-
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