Grounded Japan Airlines Boeing 787 JA829J at Boston Logan airport January 2013 (Wikimedia)

Grounded Japan Airlines Boeing 787 JA829J at Boston Logan airport January 2013 (Wikimedia)

The launch of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner was supposed to be a celebration, but it was quickly over-shadowed by technical problems that temporarily grounded the new fleet. While some will continue to associate the Dreamliner with its rocky start, the advances Boeing has made in aircraft engineering, energy efficiency and consumer comfort are sure to outlast any memory of those problems.

The Dreamliner is more than an aircraft – it is a symbol of American innovation and industry. Produced at Boeing’s plants in Everett, Wash., and South Carolina, these are American designed and manufactured airplanes destined for delivery around the world. Boeing is producing these planes at a rate of seven per month and is on track to produce 10 planes per month by the end of the year. To date, Boeing has produced 114 Dreamliners and has more than 800 unfilled orders to 58 airlines worldwide.

Boeing is the only U.S. producer in the commercial transportation category. That this company is supplying planes for airlines around the world is one of the few bright spots in our balance of trade.

United Airlines is currently the only American carrier to fly the 787. In a recent story published by CNN, travel agents reported numerous calls from potential passengers looking to book a flight on one of the airline’s six Dreamliners.

The buzz surrounding the Dreamliner is more than just hype. Boeing has innovated a number of technological advances that will make air travel more comfortable and more efficient. Boeing’s use of more composite materials makes for a lighter plane with 20 percent fewer emissions than other similar aircraft. According to Boeing, a Dreamliner can fly 200 passengers a third of the way around the world. This efficiency means airlines can fly more passengers farther on the same amount of fuel.

The 787 is also equipped with technology to reduce moderate turbulence. Although the engineering behind this “gust suppression technology” is being kept secret, Boeing is promising a smoother ride, which means happier passengers.

Passengers have more to be happy about inside the cabin. Special gel-tinted windows lighten or darken the glass with the push of a button. New cabin pressure technology allows the body to absorb more oxygen, reducing air sickness and improving the flying experience for passengers.

For a publicly-traded company like Boeing to put safety first and address the Dreamliner 787’s problems quickly is something that should be applauded, not criticized. Any new aircraft will have its technological challenges, especially one that has written a new chapter in the book of innovation and design.

Looking at the airlines that have ordered Dreamliners – Virgin Atlantic, Air Canada, Korean Air, Qantas – you see a long list of internationally renowned companies that have put millions of dollars’ worth of faith in an American product. Every time a Boeing product lands at one of the thousands of airports around the globe it speaks to American industry’s ability to manufacture products at the highest technological level. In a generation we will look back at the launch of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner and see it as a great achievement, not a stumble.