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Continental Airlines Unveils Boeing 787 Dreamliner Interior

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On Monday, Continental Airlines offered delegates at the 2010 National Business Travel Association (NBTA) International Convention & Expo a sneak preview of its Boeing 787 aircraft interior. Continental will be the first U.S. carrier to take delivery of the new 787 Dreamliner beginning next year.

“Continental is excited to unveil the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to some of our best customers,” said Dave Hilfman, Continental’s senior vice president of worldwide sales. “The Dreamliner’s unrivaled customer experience and superior economic performance will change the future of travel.”

Benefits of the 787 Dreamliner’s cabin environment include:

Lower cabin altitude: Lowering the cabin altitude to 6,000 feet reduces the adverse physical effects of pressurization on customers.

 Increased luggage storage: The overhead storage bins are some of the largest in the industry, allowing space for every passenger to fit a standard-size carry-on bag in the bin above.

More space and freedom: Architectural design elements such as sweeping arches and more natural light create a feeling of spaciousness.

Larger windows: The 787 windows are the largest on any of today’s airplanes (although Airbus claims the windows on the A350 XWB will be slightly larger), giving passengers a view to the horizon from any seat on the plane. Rather than pull-down window shades, electrochromatic shades give passengers the ability to dim the window and still enjoy the passing terrain.

Simulated cabin sky: The cabin ceiling is illuminated by ambient LEDs that create a sense of the sky overhead. The flight crew, able to control the brightness and color of the cabin sky, can give passengers a sense of daylight when desired or help passengers rest by simulating a night sky.

Cleaner, less dry cabin air: Innovative air purification systems maintain cleaner cabin air, and the air system allows for higher cabin humidity levels to combat the effects of dryness on passenger comfort levels.

Sound quality: The 787 improvements lower noise both inside and outside the cabin. Less cabin noise equates to reduced passenger fatigue, while decreased engine noise creates significantly quieter takeoffs and landings, improving the experience for airport communities and employee ground crews.

With expanded range capabilities, improved fuel efficiency and superior operating economics, the 787s will allow Continental to target additional long-haul markets or replace older, less-efficient widebody aircraft. Constructed mainly of lightweight, carbon-fiber composite  materials, the Dreamliner is aerodynamically refined to minimize drag and maximize speed. This, combined with the aircraft’s reduced weight, allows the 787 to fly farther using 20% less fuel and emitting 20% less carbon dioxide than similarly sized airplanes.

Continental has firm orders for 25 Dreamliners with delivery scheduled beginning third quarter 2011. The aircraft will have 228 seats, including 36 of Continental’s new flat-bed BusinessFirst seats for the best rest on long-distance flights.

Continental plans to begin nonstop Boeing 787 flights to Auckland, New Zealand, and Lagos, Nigeria, from its Houston hub. Both routes are expected to start in November 2011 and are subject to government approval.

“The 787 is an integral part of our international growth strategy,” said Greg Hart, Continental’s vice president of network strategy. “This next generation of aircraft positions Continental for new long-haul business opportunities - Auckland and Lagos are two great examples  of global markets the 787 will enable us to reach.”

Following the display at the 2010 NBTA International Convention & Expo, Continental will exhibit the 787 mock-up fuselage at its Houston hub in Bush Intercontinental Airport’s Terminal E.

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