Korean Air has unveiled its brand new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on February 27 at Incheon Airport, which is South Korea’s first Dreamliner introduced to the public.
The aircraft will provide an entirely new experience for passengers. The internal cabin pressure has increased to the equivalent of 1,800m (6,000ft) altitude instead of the 2,400m (8,000ft) in conventional aircraft. Furthermore, the humidity level will be set in the 15%~16% range, which will significantly improve passengers’ comfort compared to the maximum humidity of 11% in the existing aircraft.
Korean Air is planning to utilize the aircraft for long-haul routes with the demand for leisure travel increasing. The airline is scheduled to put the aircraft on domestic flights first between Seoul’s Gimpo Airport and JeJu Airport for a month as part of the required certification period, before launching long-haul international routes from Seoul’s Incheon Airport to Toronto, L.A. and Madrid later this year. Korean Air’s Boeing 787-9 will be operated with a total of 269 seats; 6 first class seats, 18 Prestige class seats and 245 Economy class seats.
The interior design of the Dreamliner cabin is quite different from that of conventional aircraft. The “Premium Cabin Interior” uses the latest LED lighting technology to adjust the color and brightness of lighting depending on time and environment. It has five different modes: for take-off, dining, sunset/sunrise, sleeping, and landing. The modes will create a more comfortable atmosphere for passengers.
Another noteworthy feature is the size of the cabin windows: it is 78% larger than that of conventional aircraft, allowing passengers to have a better outside view. The manually operated window covers are gone and instead there are buttons to adjust the transparency of the windows in five different levels. A specially developed gel has been inserted within the windowpanes to control the transparency.
The Dreamliner is famous for being the first commercial airplane with composite material in most of its airframe components. The aircraft is made of 50% carbon fiber composites along with aluminum alloys for a reduced weight and greater durability, thereby consuming 20 percent less fuel and generating 20 percent fewer emissions than the airplane it replaces.
Each component of the aircraft has been designed to be environmentally friendly. Its particular wing design – known as “raked wingtips” – is aimed at increasing the aerodynamics for the fuel efficiency. The engine uses a new technology for the cowl that covers the engine, which significantly decreases noise from the engine slipstream – again increasing the comfort of passengers. Another notable technology found on the Dreamliner is a system that automatically detects whenever the plane encounters turbulence and adjusts the flight status to reduce sudden cabin movements.
A remarkable fact is that Korean Air’s Aerospace Division is a Boeing partner on the 787 program, supplying components for the Dreamliner. Since 2006, the Aerospace Division has been manufacturing six core parts, including raked wing tips, rear bodies and flap support fairing for the aircraft. Korean Air is also the partner on the 747-8 program as one of two suppliers producing the new 737 MAX Advanced Technology Winglet.
Korean Air is scheduled to introduce five 787-9 Dreamliners to its fleet this year, with another five joining the fleet by 2019.