Before some jerks from the Middle East messed everything up, the world's two major commercial aircraft companies, Boeing and Airbus, were working on performance planes: the ultra-fast Boeing Sonic Cruiser and the ultra-big Airbus A380. Now that airlines don't want outstanding size or speed, Boeing has introduced a new concept aircraft to fill more realistic needs.
The 787 "Dreamliner" design calls for a widebody plane with two jet engines, capable of carrying 250 passengers on routes of up to 14,000 km. It was originally known as the "7E7", with the "E" standing for "efficiency". Boeing plans to increase fuel efficiency by fifteen to twenty percent for its new model. General Electric, Pratt & Whitney, and Rolls-Royce are all working with Boeing designers to create next-generation fuel-sipping engines, and new composites are being designed to make the slim airframe very light and very strong.
So far, concept art for the 787 looks somewhat un-revolutionary, and remniscient of the company's other twinjets. The biggest changes are in the wings, which feature wingtips raked back for aerodynamics, and in the nose, which comes to a point near the bottom of the fuselage rather than the center.
Airlines that have ordered the 787 include: