Toronto travellers were introduced to a revolutionary new plane Friday that Air Canada promises is the "aircraft of the future."

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner arrived at Pearson International Airport on Thursday, and media had the opportunity to board the plane which will comprise a large portion of Air Canada's fleet starting in 2014.

The event took place on Air Canada's 75th anniversary, and the new plane shared a hangar with a Lockheed L10a -- the propeller-driven plane that helped launch the airline in 1937.

Craig Landry, Air Canada's vice-president of marketing, said the juxtaposition was intentional.

"It's not by accident that on one side of the hangar we have the original L10a aircraft that we flew in 1937, when we first started flying, and on the other side of the hangar we have the 787, which is really the aircraft of our future," Landry said.

He said the Dreamliner is the first plane to incorporate a fuselage and wings made largely from composite material, as opposed to metal. As a result the plane is much lighter, and allows the crew to maintain lower pressurization and higher levels of humidity within the cabin.

"And what that does is it creates a lot more passenger comfort, reduces jetlag, reduces things like dehydration and gets you to the other end of your journey a lot more refreshed than what we have on contemporary aircraft today," Landry said.

Air Canada has ordered 37 of the new planes, with an option to order an additional 13. They are scheduled to enter into regular use in 2014.

Key details about the Boeing 787 Dreamliner:

  • Composite materials make up 50 per cent of the structure of the 787, including the fuselage and wings.
  • The plane used 20 per cent less fuel than other similar-size aircraft.
  • The 787 travels at a comparable speed to the fastest wide-body planes in the skies, Mach 0.85, while also providing more cargo space.
  • The plane incorporates a new one-piece fuselage section that eliminates the need for 1,500 aluminum sheets and 40,000 to 50,000 fasteners.
  • The 787-8 Dreamliner will carry 210-250 passengers on routes of 14,200 to 15,200 kilometres.
  • The 787-9 Dreamliner will 250-290 passengers on routed of 14,800 to 15,750 kilometres.
  • The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is manufactured in Everett, Wash., near Seattle.

With a report from CP24's Cam Woolley