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The Boeing 787, known as the Dreamliner, landed in Salt Lake City for a short visit Thursday to give workers who manufacture the plane's vertical fins here a glimpse of their handiwork in action.
On the ground near the Million Air executive terminal at Salt Lake City International Airport, employees of Boeing Salt Lake City watched with pride as the plane arrived from Long Beach, Calif.
Ross Bogue, vice president and general manager for Boeing's commercial aircraft division, announced that Boeing Salt Lake City will also be handling the assembly and integration of the 787's horizontal stabilizers.
"They will do that in a collaborative way with Alenia [Aermacchi], one of our partners in Italy," Bogue said.
To support that work, Boeing is building another assembly line inside its Salt Lake City facility, adding a new paint operation and leasing an additional 191,000 square feet of work and storage space. The Salt Lake City site employs 550 people.
"If performance and compete, compete, compete is the mantra of today's global economy, I'd put this team up against anybody in the world," Bogue said. "They earned the right to have the 787 come visit them today."
In the works since 2003, the new airplane "unlike any other" will reconnect customers to the magic of flight, said Bogue.
John Plueger, president of Air Lease Corp. and a commercial aircraft pilot since 1977, billed the new plane as "the future of flight" and a big part of Boeing's future, as well.
Plueger's company, formed in 2010, leases planes to various carriers and has four 787s on order.
Although no domestic carrier offers a 787 flight yet, five of the aircraft are in use in Asia, said Craig Trewet, site director for Boeing Salt Lake City, noting that Asiana Airlines provides 787 service from Boston to Japan. Boeing has two final assembly sites for the 787, one in Everett, Wash. and the other in Charleston, S.C.
Bogue touted the Dreamliner's larger windows, roomier overhead bins, LED lighting and lower-pressurized cabins as part of a flight environment that will help deliver customers at their destinations happier and more refreshed. The Dreamliner has twin aisles and can seat 210 to 250 passengers.
"It doesn't feel like you're flying in a confined space," Bogue said.
The 787s are equipped with quieter engines manufactured by Rolls Royce and GE, and should be easier on the planet, Bogue added. They will burn 20 percent less fuel and should require 30 percent less maintenance due to their composite structures.