A little over 10 years after they ordered 10 of the aircraft, launch customer, Air New Zealand received contractual delivery of the first 787-9 Dreamliner from Boeing yesterday. The legal delivery marks the first formal acceptance by the airline of the new larger Dreamliner. The aircraft received its certification by the two major bodies, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in June. The first flight of the 787-9 was performed on September 17 2013.
The airline will conduct acceptance testing over the next few days, before a formal delivery ceremony to be held at Everett, Washington, USA scheduled for July 9, 2014.
The 787-9 is a stretched version of the 787-8 which already in service with many airlines across the world including national carrier Air India. The 787-9 will hold about 40 more passengers and can fly longer distances than it older sibling. Air New Zealand will configure its 787-9 with 302-seats. Air New Zealand has indicated that the new 787-9 is expected to enter service on the long-haul sectors in October this year on the Auckland Perth route. The 787-9 is powered by the Rolls Royce Trent 1000 series engines.
The list price of the 787-9 is around $249.5 million, but early customers get significant discounts. The carrier originally expected its 787-9s back in 2010, but Boeing has faced significant delays with the entire Dreamliner program. The 787-9 is one of the original variants offered by Boeing when it launched the Dreamliner 7E7 program back in 2003. The short-haul 787-3 variant has been cancelled, but Boeing launched the 787-10 variant at the Paris air show last year meant to service the medium range regional route market, and is due to enter service in 2018.
The 787-10 has the same a MTOW (Maximum Take Off Weight) of 250,830 kgs (553,000 lbs) as the 787-9, and will trade range for increased passenger capacity. The 787-10 has a range up to 7,000 nm (12,964 km), with seating for 300~330 which puts it head-on against the Airbus A350-900 XWB which due to enter service with launch customer Qatar Airways later this year.