Boeing has begun final assembly of its first ever B787-9 – the new, longer version of the Dreamliner.
The second version of the B787 series began taking shape on schedule 30 May 2013 at Boeing’s factory in Everett, Washington state, when Boeing started joining main sections of the fuel-efficient jet.
“From the start, the entire 787-9 team has focused relentlessly on execution so that we fulfil the commitments to our customers,” said Mark Jenks, Boeing’s vice president of 787 development. “Integrating the 787-9 into our production system on time is another clear sign that we are well prepared and well positioned for the work ahead.”
The B787-9 will be an extended version of the existing B787-8 Dreamliner, with a fuselage six metres longer than the existing model. It will be able to carry approximately 280 passengers in a three-class configuration, 40 more than the B787-8, and will also be able to fly further than the current version, at up to 15,700km, compared to 15,200km for the B787-8.
The first flight of the B787-9 is scheduled for the second half of 2013, with the first delivery to launch customer Air New Zealand set for early 2014. At present, 355 B787-9s have been ordered by 20 customers, accounting for 40% of all Dreamliner orders.
Boeing is also planning to roll-out an even longer version, the B787-10, with Singapore Airlines recently having placed an order for the model.