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Boeing Unveils New, Lighter Airliner

July 13, 2007 02:51 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Sales for the fuel-efficient 787 have pushed Boeing ahead of its rival Airbus for the first time in years; however, environmentalists are skeptical of claims that air travel can be environmentally friendly.

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In physical appearance, the mid-size long-range passenger jet differs from other aircraft of the same classification only in its swept-back, upward-lifted wings.

But it is what lies under the paintwork that makes the plane unique. The 787 is constructed from 50 percent carbon composite materials and 15 percent titanium, making it unusually light. Boeing says that the plane is consequently 20 percent more fuel efficient than its most comparable competitor.

Boeing hopes that the new plane can address concerns about greenhouse gas emissions; passenger jets release more CO2 per person per mile than any other form of travel.

However, environmentalists predict that any reduction to emissions secured by greater fuel efficiency will be negated by an increase in passenger numbers.

Advanced sales of the 787 have exceeded $100 billion. For the first time in five years, Boeing has outstripped its European rival Airbus.

Competition between the two air giants has become a source of intergovernmental acrimony of late. The United States has appealed to the World Trade Organization, accusing the European Union of flouting trade regulations by supplying subsidies to Airbus.

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Background

Environmental Impact

Aircraft and Climate Change
What is the Greenhouse Effect?

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