BA Joins the Dreamliner Trio Club

British Airways has received its maiden Boeing 787-10, G-ZBLA (c/n 60637), after the widebody arrived at its London/Heathrow  base on June 28. The Rolls-Royce Trent 1000-powered airframe departed the North Charleston, South Carolina facility on June 27 at 11:37pm local time for the 4,064-mile (6,451km) journey before landing at the West London hub at 11:50am.

Stuart Bailey/British Airways
The maiden British Airways Boeing 787-10 is expected to be joined by another 11 examples. Stuart Bailey/British Airways

Prior to delivery, the jet performed its last test flight from Charleston on June 23. Using the callsign Boeing 101,  it flew a 1hrs 6min sortie over the Atlantic Ocean before heading back to base.

Speaking back in November on the 787-10, Alex Cruz, British Airways chairman and CEO, commented: “The delivery of our first 787-10 marks another significant milestone in our £6.5bn customer investment plan. The [Dreamliner] delivers a 25% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to the aircraft it replaces, another step towards our commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.  It will also offer greater comfort for our customers, as it features our latest generation seats in all cabins.”

With its latest acquisition, the UK flag carrier becomes one of just a handful of carriers worldwide– including All Nippon Airways (ANA) and United Airlines – to operate all three variants of the Dreamliner, namely the -8, -9 and -10. Before the onset of COVID-19, British Airways operated 30 examples of the 787 comprising 12 -8s and 18 -9s. The first Dreamliner – an -8 – for the company, G-ZBJB (c/n 38610), touched down at Heathrow on June 27, 2013 after being built at Paine Field in Washington. 

The 787-10 is fitted out with 256 seats in a four-class configuration: 165 economy (World Traveller), 35 premium economy (World Traveller Plus), 48 business (Club World) and eight in first. The new type features the latest first and business products available – currently only found on the smaller -9.

The aircraft made its first flight back in mid-January with an expected delivery scheduled to occur shortly after. However, due to minor delays that coincided with the outbreak of the coronavirus, the due date was pushed further. The UK operator is scheduled to take a further 11 examples –  five of those are slated to be handed over this year.

This uncertainty continues regarding its service debut. In November, British Airways confirmed the first city to receive the twin-aisle would be Atlanta. Since then, other destinations including Dallas/Fort Worth and Nashville were slated to follow. Although, amid moves to mitigate against the pandemic – with route suspensions and job losses – it’s unclear if these are to go ahead or not.