First Choice revolutionising long-haul flights



3 September 2009


First Choice Airways, the UK launch customer for the Boeing 787, has strengthened its position as a provider of world class long-haul holidays by increasing its order for the world’s most advanced commercial aircraft from eight to twelve.

The aircraft due to come into service from 2009, will be offered exclusively to First Choice customers as part of the Company’s strategy to offer a differentiated product.

The 787’s cutting edge technology will ensure First Choice customers are the first to benefit from a new era in long-haul travel, where planes can fly further non-stop and on-board customer benefits include a revolutionary reduction in jet-lag symptoms. These benefits have resulted in the introduction of the 787 being the most successful launch of a commercial aircraft ever.

First Choice is committed to offering its customers long-haul holidays from throughout the UK. The size of the 787 ensures it can offer point-to-point travel from UK regional airports and with a range of 8,500 nautical miles (10,000 miles), it can fly further non-stop to destinations as far away as Borneo, but at speeds as fast as current commercial aircraft. The 787 has many environmental benefits including a 20% reduction in fuel usage compared to other aircraft of a similar size.

Another key differentiator of the 787 is the focus on the well being of its passengers.

Changes in the way the aircraft is pressurised and cabin humidity will reduce the effects of altitude and passengers will feel less tired on arrival at their destination. The 787 also uses new technology to sense air pressure differences and avoid turbulence, allowing for a much smoother flight and better flying experience.

The design of the aircraft will ensure the flight itself is more enjoyable with wider seats, wider aisles and the largest windows of any aircraft.

Although the final details regarding seat size and configuration for the 787 have yet to be confirmed, First Choice has expressed its commitment to offering a superior level of comfort, while also maintaining commercial viability.

The company has already revolutionised the long-haul economy market over the last two years, having upgraded its long-haul fleet to offer more economy legroom than many scheduled carriers such as BA and Virgin. Its 767’s also offer wider seats, giving more personal space and state-of-the-art entertainment systems.

The success of the product has prompted several competitors to announce plans to try and emulate the service, hardly surprising considering that the company’s long-haul sales are currently up 38% for Winter 2006/2007, and 19% for Summer 2007.

However the upgrading of the 767s was always viewed as a short-term strategy, while the company planned for the introduction of the 787.

Dermot Blastland, Managing Director of First Choice Mainstream Holidays said: “The 787 is a revolutionary aircraft which allows us to continue to establish ourselves at the forefront of long-haul leisure travel. We continue to move out of the saturated no frills market and offer customers a unique holiday experience.”

First Choice Airways will take delivery of its first two 787’s in 2009 with the remaining 10 being introduced into the fleet between 2010 and 2013. When it finishes taking delivery of the 787’s, First Choice Airways will have doubled the size of its current long-haul fleet.


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