Boeing beavers away on 787-10 Dreamliner

By David Flynn, July 23 2014
Boeing beavers away on 787-10 Dreamliner

Boeing has only just delivered its first 787-9 to launch customer Air New Zealand but the aircraft manufacturer has already begun detailed design work on the final member of the Dreamliner family, the 787-10, ahead of first flights in 2017.

And the aircraft manufacturer is hoping for a 'dream run' in scaling up the 787-10, which will be longer against than the stretched 787-9 in order to carry around 320 passengers depending on how airlines configure the next-gen jet.

"The -10 is a much much simpler program" than its predecessors says Mark Jenks, Boeing's vice president for 787 Development.

"When you look at all the learnings we had on the -8, all the improvements and new technology we've put on the -9, that was a very big job" Jenks told Australian Business Traveller during the delivery flight of the world's first Boeing 787-9 from Seattle to Auckland for launch customer Air New Zealand.

"The -10 is very different" Jenks said. "We've had a team doing the up-front work on the 787-10 for the better part of a year now, it's very simple stretch and very low risk."

It's so low-risk that while first 787-10 test flights are slated for 2017 ahead of delivery to its launch customer in 2018, this Dreamliner could achieve something few all-new airplane types have ever done, and be delivered ahead of schedule, Jenks admitted.

"From an engineering perspective and a design perspective, we could do it sooner."

"The timing is is really driven by making sure that we can very smoothly introduce and integrate the -10 into the 787 production system because we will be at high (production) rates by then."

Boeing is currently pushing 10 of the 787-8 and 787-9 variants out the door each month, across three assembly lines, with the goal of taking this to 14 airplanes per month by the end of the decade.

The 787-10's dance card already lists 132 orders, however Boeing has yet to reveal which airline will take the prestigious mantle of being the 787-10's global launch customer.

Although Singapore Airlines was the first airline to commit to the largest Dreamliner, signing up for 30 of the jets at a list price of US$289 million (A$308 million) each, Etihad Airways has placed an equal order alongside its order of 41 of the 787-9s.

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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

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25 Sep 2013

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Much simpler? Those are some famous last words. ;)

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