Boeing's beleaguered 787 Dreamliner project has taken another hit, with the company cancelling plans for its short-haul 787-3 series.
Despite being one of three members of the 787 Dreamliner family, the 787-3 was slated to be the last to roll off the production line sometime after 2014.
And while the 787-3 could carry up to 330 passengers compared to the 250 seat load of the mainstream 787-8, its 5,600km range was only one-third of the 787-8.
Only two airlines – Japan's ANA and JAL – placed orders for the 787-3, and both have since swapped those to the 787-8, which is expected to enter service in mid-2011.
Boeing will now focus its Dreamliner project on speeding roll-out of the 787-8, which is already running three years behind schedule, and the 'stretched' 787-9 version which will seat 250–290 across three classes with a top range of 15,750 km.
Qantas has orders for 15 of the long-range wide-body 787-8 airliners, and while the first are earmarked for low-cost sibling Jetstar, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says a 'Red Roo' version of the Dreamliner could even find its way onto “high traffic routes on Qantas’ domestic network.”
The 797-9 has a stronger following among regional airlines, with Air New Zealand as Boeing's launch customer based on an initial order of eight planes. Qantas was a staggering 35 on order, the same number as Etihad, with 20 slated for Singapore Airlines and 16 for BA.
An even longer 787-10, with up to 310 seats, is also proposed as a competitor against the Airbus A350-900.