Budget carrier Scoot marked a new chapter in its history, after it collected the first of its Boeing 787 jets on Sunday.
Scoot's chief executive Campbell Wilson and crew received the "keys" to the new Dreamliner from planemaker Boeing under foggy skies at its Everett factory north of Seattle.
At the Boeing delivery centre, close to 80 guests, including journalists and suppliers, were treated to a 10-minute light-and-sound show in a ceremony to unveil the aircraft that gleamed in Scoot's trademark yellow.
The Dreamliner will leave Seattle for its 18-hour flight across the Pacific Sea, making a stop at Osaka before arriving in Singapore on Monday morning at 9.45am.
The plane's first "passengers" will be Mr Campbell, journalists and 38 others, including Scoot staff who scored coveted seats on the delivery flight through a contest.
Scoot's 787s, which will have up to 375 seats in two classes, promise to be more roomy and comfortable. Passengers in all classes can look outside through larger windows and entertain themselves by surfing the internet with Wifi onboard or streaming movies on their tablets and smartphones.
Sunday's delivery of the first Dreamliner comes more than two years after Scoot first announced that it will acquire the 787s. The Dreamliners, which are primarily made of carbon-fibre composite material, are lighter and use a fifth less fuel than the current fleet does.
Scoot, a Singapore Airlines subsidiary, has ordered 20 Dreamliners. As more B787s start coming onboard by August, the carrier expects to phase out six of its ageing, hand-me-down B777 aircraft from SIA. That will mark Scoot's transition to operating an all-Dreamliner fleet, which will be made up of the 787-8s and longer-range 787-9 variants.
Mr Campbell told The Straits Times that the eventual cost savings "improves our bottomline and gives us more scope to offer even better airfares".
It took more than 30 computerised mock-ups over the last two-plus years to finalise the look and feel of Scoot's Boeing 787 cabins. Scoot's Dreamliner fleet will be made up of the 787-8 and longer-range 787-9 variants.
They will each have up to 375 seats in two classes that promise to be roomier and more comfortable. Those onboard will:
- enjoy better seat pitch of between 31 inches (economy) to 38 inches (ScootBiz) and more legroom;
- get better views when they look outside through larger windows;
- charge their laptops and mobile devices with AC power, surf the internet with onboard Wifi connection or stream movies on their tablets and smartphones, although economy passengers will have to pay for these services;
- suffer fewer headaches, dry eyes and nausea, that are typically caused by the lack of oxygen, because the humidity level in the 787 cabin will be higher.
The Dreamliners, which are primarily made of carbon-fibre composite material, are lighter and use a fifth less fuel than the current fleet does. Scoot is among 58 airlines that have either ordered or received 1071 Dreamliners. Among them, 30 have received 231 787 jets.