Boeing has commenced final assembly of the first 787-9 Dreamliner, the newest variant of the new generation largely composite aircraft.
The 787-9 is the longer version of the existing 787-8 with its fuselage stretched by 20 feet increasing the aircraft length to 206 feet. The 787-9 will be able to carry 40 more passengers an additional 300 nautical miles (555 kilometers).
The first flight of the 787-9 is scheduled for the second half of 2013, and first delivery is expected in early 2014, to launch customer Air New Zealand. About 40% of all Dreamliner orders, 355 aircraft, are for the -9 variant from 20 airline customers. However, Air India is not one of them.
Boeing will build the first three 787-9s on its Temporary Surge Line in Everett to allow for smoother integration of the 787-9 into the production system while continuing to ramp up production across the 787 program.
In the photo above, courtesy Boeing, the vertical stabilizer on the first 787-9 reflects the new Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) livery, last modified for the 737 MAX.