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A British Airways Dreamliner 787-8 at London's Heathrow airportWhen Boeing (BA) began shopping its new 787 Dreamliner to potential customers a decade ago, it quickly became clear to airline executives that the jet’s lower operating economics would allow for all sorts of new routes that existing planes couldn’t fly cost effectively. With its combination of long-haul range and modest seat capacity—not too big, not too small—the 787 could connect far-flung destinations that had traditionally required a stop in a hub.

Now the new routes are becoming realities. British Airways (IAG:LN) plans to begin flying a 787 from London Heathrow to Austin, Tex., in March, its third Texas destination, while low-cost carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle (NAS:NO)will begin using the plane on new flights from Scandinavia to California in March. Stockholm-Los Angeles will be the first route, followed by flights from Oslo and Copenhagen to the second-largest U.S. city. Norwegian will also use the 787 on new flights in May, from Oslo and Stockholm to Oakland, Calif.