Boeing’s new extended Dreamliner aircraft, the B787-9, has been officially approved for launch.
The new wide-body aircraft has been certified by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for commercial service, allowing Boeing to proceed with the final stages of the aircraft’s entry into service.
Air New Zealand will be the B787-9’s launch customer when it welcomes its first aircraft this summer.
“Certification is the culmination of years of hard work and a rigorous flight-test programme that started with the 787-9’s first flight last September,” said Boeing’s commercial president & CEO, Ray Conner. “With this validation that the airplane is ready for commercial operations, Boeing along with our airline and leasing customers now look forward to introducing the newest member of the Dreamliner family to passengers around the world.”
The B787-9 completed 1,500 hours of flight testing prior to certification, plus ground and laboratory tests. Boeing will now be hopeful that the latest version of the Dreamliner can avoid the problems of its predecessor, the B787-8, which was forced to be removed from service shortly after launch due to problems with overheating batteries.
The new B787-9 Dreamliner is six metres longer than the B787-8, offering space for approximately 15-20% more passengers, depending in the cabin configuration. It will feature the same design traits as the smaller Dreamliner, including large windows, LED lighting and higher cabin humidity, as well as being more fuel-efficient than similar aircraft of its size.
To-date, 26 customers around the world have ordered 413 B787-9s. Launch customer Air New Zealand has ordered 10 of the aircraft, while other major customers include Etihad Airways (41 aircraft), ANA (30), American Airlines (30), United Airlines (26) and Air France-KLM (25).