A GEnx-powered Boeing 787 Dreamliner made the first U.S. commercial landing in Boston yesterday afternoon. The flight launched a new nonstop route between Asia and Boston operated by Japan Airlines. JAL took possession of two Dreamliners last month in Seattle and will soon open a second new nonstop Dreamliner route between Tokyo and San Diego.
The Dreamliner belongs to a new class of efficient passenger planes made from advanced materials like composites and plastics that are stronger, tougher, and lighter than traditional metal alloys. GE developed a new high-tech engine for the aircraft, the ecomagination-qualified GEnx. Although the GEnx-powered Dreamliner is just entering into service, so many airlines ordered this engine-aircraft combination that the U.S.-made GEnx is already the bestselling engine in GE’s history.
Engine Check: JAL crew is inspecting GE’s GEnx engine inside the airline’s hangar at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.
Like the Dreamliner, key parts of the engine such as the fan case and blades are made from lightweight, corrosion resistant composites that shave some 400 pounds off each engine. This helps airlines burn less fuel, fly further, and also faster. A Dreamliner fitted with two GEnx engines already set a round-the-world distance and speed records in its class last fall. “An aircraft body and its engines form a single entity,” says Ryo Ogawa, JAL vice president and cabin crew captain on the airline’s 787 flights. “You can’t have one better than the other. The B787 and the GEnx engines are a perfect fit, balancing each other out beautifully.”
Takeshi Katsurada, JAL’s vice president for flight operations engineering, helped JAL pick its Dreamliner engines. He said that the GEnx “performed exactly as they were designed to” do while Boeing was building JAL’s aircraft and during tests. “We’ve used GE engines for a long time, so we have a good idea of the GEnx potential.”
The JAL Dreamliner stayed in Boston just three hours before returning to Tokyo.