By David Flynn, October 24 2010

Airlines around the world have placed orders for some 850 of Boeing’s revolutionary but much-delayed 787 Dreamliner.

Qantas has 50 on the cards, as does United-Continental; another 50 are earmarked for Etihad, 24 for British Airways, 20 for Singapore Airlines and 15 for Virgin Atlantic.

So exactly where are these laggard long-range jetliners? Right now they’re stacking up next to Boeing’s 787 assembly centre near Seattle, where local domestic airport Paine Field has become a parking lot for the planes as they await final flight-ready certification from the FAA.

The edges of Paine Field are turning into an overflow airplane parking lot as Boeing’s massive facility turns out 787 Dreamliners that can’t yet be delivered.

A dozen near-completed Dreamliners are already sitting around like wide-body wallflowers, reports The Seattle Times, with at least 10 more due to join them by February.

But they’re not going anywhere until the FAA gives them the smiley stamp of approval.

The first commercial 787 Dreamliner will be handed over to Japan’s ANA early next year, more than 30 months behind schedule.

Qantas is due to receive eight 787s in mid-2012, although these are all slated for use by Jetstar on international routes into Asia and a planned push into southern Europe.

The remaining 42 Dreamliners on Boeing’s books will arrive from 2014 and will be shared between Qantas and Jetstar.

The kangaroo-branded 787s will replace Qantas’ B767-300ER fleet and according to Qantas CEO Alan Joyce could even find their way onto “high traffic routes on Qantas’ domestic network.”

[The Seattle Times]


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

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