Boeing has started the final assembly process of the 787-9 version of its Dreamliner aircraft on schedule.
The 787-9 is larger than 787-8, the version currently in use worldwide, and also offers greater range. The fuselage of the 787-9 is 20 feet feet longer than the 787-8. The aircraft can carry up to 40 more passengers an extra 300 nautical miles (555 kilometers) while reducing fuel consumption by an anticipated twenty percent.
Boeing expects the 787-9 will make its first test flight in the second half of 2013. Air New Zealand is the launch customer for this aircraft with the first delivery scheduled for early 2014. A total of 355 Boeing 787-9s – 40 percent of all Dreamliner orders – have been ordered so far by 20 customers around the world.