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New Dreamliners Get Quiet Rollout

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In case you missed it (which was apparently the point) Boeing rolled out the first of its two “extended cab” 787 Dreamliners last weekend.

The first longer body model – the 787-9 Dreamliner – is twenty feet longer than the original Dreamliner plane, and can accommodate forty additional passengers on flights of up to 8,200 nautical miles (300 miles further than the original Dreamliner). An even bigger Dreamliner – the 787-10 – is scheduled to enter into service five years from now. That plane will be forty feet longer than the original Dreamliners but will be limited to 7,000 nautical mile flights.

Unlike the festival-style announcements of previous years, Boeing quietly rolled out its latest Dreamliner on a Saturday evening at its production facility in Everett, Washington.

Why the low-key unveiling? Easy: The Dreamliner has been one nightmare after another for Boeing – which receives billions of dollars a year in government contracts, loans and other subsidies.

Originally scheduled for delivery in May of 2008, numerous design, supply and delivery problems pushed its deadline back more than three years – causing numerous cancellations. Things haven’t gone much smoother since the plane took flight – most notably its global grounding earlier this year due to as-yet-unsolved battery conflagrations.

Since that grounding, a Dreamliner caught fire on the ground at London’s Heathrow Airport – while another Dreamliner reportedly had smoke coming from one of its electrical compartments on the ground in Doha, Qatar.

Boeing makes 787s in Everett, Washington and North Charleston, S.C. In fact South Carolina taxpayers have shelled out more than $1 billion in taxpayer subsidized incentives to “land” Boeing’s business. Crony capitalist S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley is the company’s biggest cheerleader, referring to 787s as “Mack Daddy Planes” during a speech to the Republican National Convention last year.

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