LOT Polish Airlines is the first airline to announce that it will offer a Chicago O’Hare flight aboard a revolutionary Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
O’Hare’s most dominant airline, United Airlines, is scheduled to take delivery of a 787 slightly earlier — scheduled for the second half of this year — and would “likely” use a 787 on routes through Chicago, possibly as soon as the fourth quarter of this year, spokeswoman Mary Ryan said. However, United hasn’t announced a flight schedule for the aircraft.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a twin-aisle plane that offers the best fuel economy and range for a craft its size and promises far greater comfort for passengers.
LOT will be the first European airline to receive a 787, albeit four years late.Boeing’s production of the plane has been dramatically delayed by manufacturing problems, pushing back delivery dates years for many airlines. LOT was originally scheduled to take delivery in 2008, Pirog said.
LOT is scheduled to take delivery of a 787 in November and will put it into regular service a couple months later, first on the Chicago-Warsaw route, the biggest for the airline. Pirog said the 787 flights are likely to start in the first half of January.Japan’s All Nippon Airways was the first to take delivery of a 787 last year.
The 787 is said to be the most technilogically advanced commercial aircraft ever built. The jet’s largely composite structure is lighter and delivers greater fuel efficiency, a big deal for airlines. Besides saving airlines money, it would enable carriers to bypass airport hubs and directly connect city pairs that otherwise wouldn’t generate enough passenger traffic to fill bigger jets.
For passengers, the plane has the industry’s largest windows and overhead bins. Quieter and smoother-riding, the aircraft has wider aisles and seats, more comfortable cabin pressure and cleaner air using a filtration system to remove offensive odors. The windows will be dimmable, via electrochromic window shades rather than physical pull-down shades.
Currently, LOT operates seven flights per week from O’Hare, although that will fluctuate in coming months between seven and 11 flights per week, a spokeswoman said. Pirog said LOT’s flight schedule will not change through the summer but it “might” add Chicago flights after that, if they’re warranted. In May, LOT will mark its 40th anniversary flying from O’Hare.
LOT also announced Wednesday that it has begun operating an all-cargo flight between Chicago and Katowice, Poland. Nearly 70 percent of air freight fromPoland to Chicago is transported by LOT, Pirog said.
By Gregory Karp Tribune staff reporter – [email protected]
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