Boeing has begun final assembly of the first 787-9, which will be the first flight-test aircraft for the version.
The newest member of the Boeing 787 family began taking shape on schedule May 30 at Boeing’s widebody final-asembly facility in Everett, Washington, when Boeing started joining large sections of the first flight-test 787-9.
“From the start, the entire 787-9 team has focused relentlessly on execution so that we fulfill the commitments to our customers,” said Mark Jenks, vice president, 787 airplane development for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “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.”
According to Boeing, its global partners delivered the first 787-9 sections to final assembly on or ahead of schedule, and strong progress is continuing with major assembly under way on the other Boeing 787-9 flight-test aircraft.
Boeing will build the first three 787-9s on its Temporary Surge Line in Everett to allow for smoother integration of the 787-9 into the 787 production system while continuing to ramp up production across the 787 program.
Its fuselage stretched by 20 feet (6 meters) compared with that of the Boeing 787-8, the 787-9 will carry 40 more passengers an additional 300 nautical miles (555 kilometers) while using 20 per cent less fuel than similarly sized aircraft, according to Boeing.
The vertical stabilizer on the first flight-test 787-9 reflects the new Boeing Commercial Airplanes livery, a refreshed look for the Boeing family of commercial jets that started with the Boeing 747-8 and evolved with the Boeing 737 MAX.
Many features of the livery on the original 787 are reflected in the new design. The prominent number designator on the tail helps distinguish various models within the same product family.
First flight of the 787-9 is scheduled for the second half of this year, with first delivery to launch customer Air New Zealand set for early 2014.
To date 20 customers around the world have ordered 355 787-9s, the model accounting for 40 per cent of all 787 orders.