Boeing will be offering bigger 787 Dreamliner to customers
Boeing has taken the first formal step toward launching a third version of the Dreamliner, the stretch 787-10.
“We are beginning to discuss more details about the airplane with customers,” spokeswoman Karen Crabtree said Wednesday. She said the talks are conditional “upon our obtaining final board approval to launch the program at a yet-to-be determined date.”
That implies Boeing’s board gave the go-ahead at its October meeting for the last step before formally launching a new plane, known as “authority to offer.”
It means the sales force at Boeing’s Commercial Airplanes can go out and talk terms and pricing with airlines.
Once they have an attractive deal that’s big enough to launch a new airplane program, airplane executives must go back to the board one more time to win a firm commitment to build the jet. That could come late this year or early next.
Last month, Daniel Tsang, an industry analyst with Aspire Aviation, reported British Airways and Singapore Airlines are in advanced discussions about a launch order.
Boeing had earlier targeted 2016 for delivering the 787-10 to customers, though that may have slipped a year or two.
The jet, which will carry up to 40 more passengers than the 787-9 but not fly as far, is thought to have a large potential market with airlines seeking a fuel-efficient plane for international routes shorter than ultra-long-haul routes like, say, Seattle to Singapore.
“We anticipate strong market demand for this third and largest member of the 787 Dreamliner family,” Crabtree said.
The 787-8, seating up to 250 passengers, is already flying; 35 have been delivered so far. With a range of 9,400 miles, it could reach Singapore from Seattle.
The second model, the 787-9, seating up to 290 passengers, flies up to 9,800 miles. The first one is due to be delivered in early 2014.
The 787-10 would be stretched 18 feet longer than the 787-9 and seat up to 320 to 330 passengers.
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