The first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner of flag carrier Vietnam Airlines has successfully conducted the first test flight in the U.S. and Wi-Fi service will likely be available to business-class passengers after it is added to the carrier’s fleet, the state-run airline said on Thursday.
The flight was tested by its manufacturer Boeing within 2 hours 36 minutes to check all aircraft systems at the airport of Paine Field in Washington State, Vietnam Airlines said.
Before carrying out the test flight, Boeing had tested all of the aircraft systems in over 150 minutes through multiple stages, such as the overall technical inspection of the ground, from the start of the engine to operations in the cockpit to ensure everything meets the technical standards of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the carrier added.
Takeoff cancelation was also tried out to make sure the brake system works.
During the test flight, FAA-licensed Boeing specialists also examined the operational status of all equipment and systems of the plane – from entertainment and sanitation to backup components – in order to ensure it can land safely even when having undesirable technical problems like the breakdown of one engine.
Following the first test flight, the aircraft will continue undergoing some other tests and one passenger flight before being officially transferred to Vietnam Airlines.
The Vietnamese carrier will receive the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner by the middle of this year so it can fly the new wide-body aircraft on the Vietnam-London route within 2015.
The Boeing 787-9, a long and larger version of type 787-8, is equipped with two powerful jet engines, either British-made Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 or U.S.-manufactured GE GEnx, pending Vietnam Airlines’ choice.
It has a flying range of 15,400 km if carrying 280 passengers.
Alongside the future deployment of the Boeing 787-9 and Airbus A350, which will also be delivered to Vietnam Airlines in the middle of this year, the carrier has also planned to offer Wi-Fi service to business-class passengers during flights using the two wide-body aircraft, a carrier representative told local media.
In March this year, Vietnam Airlines had its first Airbus A350-900 XWB thoroughly painted at a plant in Toulouse, France, the carrier said in a press release that month, adding that the aircraft could be ready to enter its test flight phase soon.
The representative said that the airline would upgrade the overall quality of service on the ground and on airplanes in accordance with the four-star level of international standards.
The availability of Wi-Fi service on the two planes is part of a series of comprehensive reforms by Vietnam Airlines, including putting new aircraft into operation, changing costumes for aircrews, and improving the service attitude of staff.
Chu Duc Duong, head of product development of Vietnam Airlines, told Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper that the carrier is negotiating with two service providers from the U.S., Go Go and OnAir, for Wi-Fi installation on the aircraft.
But to provide passengers with Wi-Fi service, the two U.S. companies must get permits from the Vietnamese Ministry of Information and Communications, Duong added.