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Vietnam Airlines' new B787-9 Dreamliner completes first test flight

Vietnam Airlines' new B787-9 Dreamliner
National carrier Vietnam Airlines has confirmed that the first of its new Boeing B787-9 Dreamliners has completed its first “B1” test flight. The newly-painted Dreamliner took off from Paine Field in Everett, Washington at 1409hrs on 14 May 2015, crewed by a Boeing aircrew which checked all of the aircraft’s systems during the two hour, 36-minute flight. With the first flight now completed, the aircraft will undergo several more tests and a customer flight before being delivered to Vietnam Airlines.

Before it can take off for the first time, every Boeing commercial aircraft undergoes a comprehensive series of checks on the ground, from running the engines to flipping every switch and pushing every button in the flight deck, to certify that the cabin meets all U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. A rejected takeoff is also completed to test the brakes. The FAA-authorised Boeing aircrew then checks that everything is working correctly during the test flight, from the toilets and the in-flight entertainment system to the backup systems that ensure the aircraft can be safely landed even in the highly unlikely event of an engine failure.  

The B787-9 Dreamliner is the latest extension to Boeing’s super-efficient 787 family. The new aircraft can fly farther, and with more passengers and more cargo, than the B787-8 - but with the same exceptional environmental performance: 20 per cent less fuel usage and 20 per cent fewer emissions than the aircraft it will replace. The new aircraft will feature fully flat beds in Business Class, with in-flight WiFi services also set to be introduced. Passengers will also benefit from larger windows and stow bins, modern LED lighting, higher humidity and cleaner air, lower cabin pressure and a smoother, quieter ride.  

As it rolls out a major fleet upgrade including a total of 19 B787s and 14 Airbus A350-900 XWBs, Vietnam Airlines will become the first airline in Asia to operate both Boeing and Airbus’ latest next-generation aircraft at the same time. The SkyTeam member will also be the first airline to operate the new B787-9 Dreamliner nonstop between Southeast Asia and Europe, with Heathrow becoming the first international destination on the Vietnam Airlines network to be served by the new aircraft. Frequencies will rise from four flights to five or six flights per week between Heathrow and Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City following the deployment of the Dreamliners, before increasing to a daily service for Summer 2016.  

Vietnam Airlines will also introduce its brand new livery, corporate identity and brand image to coincide with the introduction of its new fleet.  

Return fares from Heathrow to Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City currently start from £423 or £426 per person respectively, inclusive of taxes.

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