The first Boeing 787-10 rolled out of the hangar this weekend, and is expected to make its inaugural test flight by early March. Here's what you need to know about this latest member of the Dreamliner family.
What's so different about the 787-10?
Although sharing the same design and technology as the original Boeing 787-8 model and the later 787-9, this 'dash 10' Dreamliner is longer from tip to tail – some 5.5 metres more than the 787-9, for instance.
This translates into more passengers, which for the airlines means more paying bums on seats (and more cargo in the plane's belly, too).
Boeing reckons a simple two-class setup – typically business and economy – will provide room for 330 seats, compared to 290 seats in two-class 787-9 and 242 in the stubby little Boeing 787-8.
Does a bigger plane mean longer range?
Not in this case: while the 787-10 can carry more passengers than either of its siblings, the trade-off is that it does so over a shorter distance.
The original Boeing 787-8, which is locally flown by Qantas' low-cost arm Jetstar, tops out at 13,620km.
The Boeing 787-9 – which Qantas will fly from October this year – stretches out to 14,140km, albeit with more passengers than the 8.
By comparison, the 787-10's span is the shortest of all the Dreamliners, at 11,910km.
Boeing's logic is that this is still sufficient for most routes, while bumping up the passenger count helps the -10 delivers better economics for airlines.
How much does the Boeing 787-10 cost?
Factory-fresh planes don't come cheap, especially when they're as advanced as the Dreamliner – and come from a company eager to recoup its investment in developing this next-gen aircraft.
Boeing's list price for the 787-10 is a cool US$306 million, or A$398.5 million if you're paying in Aussie dollars. However, no airline ever pays full sticker for Boeing or Airbus jets, with discounts said to shave around 40% off the bill.
Which airlines will fly the 787-10?
Singapore Airlines will be first to fly the Boeing 787-10 from 2018; others on the list include British Airways, Etihad Airways, United Airlines and ANA.
What about Qantas?
Qantas has opted for the 787-9 model, but with options to buy as many as 45 of those aircraft and given the close and long-standing relationship between Qantas and Boeing, if the Red Roo chose to convert some of those orders to the 787-10 it could certainly do so...
But the Boeing 787-9 is very much a sweet spot for the Dreamliner, and Qantas' orders – which stretch back to the aircraft's launch in 2005 – were inked at a very low price, so all the numbers seem to be stacked in the 787-9's favour.
Will we see the Boeing 787-10 in Australian skies?
The range and passenger capacity of the Boeing 787-10 fits in very well with Singapore Airlines' routes to Australia, which currently run on a variety of aircraft ranging from the Airbus A380 superjumbo to the Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 series, so we'd suggest some of SQ's Dreamliners will be headed down under.