A longer version of The Boeing Co.’s Dreamliner made its first flight Tuesday, passing a key milestone for a plane that should be more profitable both for Boeing to sell and for its customers to operate than the current production model.
The 787-9 Dreamliner successfully completed its first flight, landing Tuesday afternoon at Boeing Field in Seattle after about five hours in the air testing its control systems. The flight began at Paine Field in Everett, near Boeing’s main 787 assembly lines.
The 787-9 jet has room for 290 passengers, 40 more than the original 787-8 jetliner, and has about 300 more nautical miles of range. That means Boeing can charge $37.7 million more for the plane at list price, and airlines can sell more seats on longer routes.
Boeing has unfilled orders for 936 Dreamliners, worth about $217 billion at list prices, or nearly eight years of production at its target construction rate of 10 per month, which it aims to hit by year’s end.
About 41 percent of the orders, or 388 planes, are for the 787-9. Boeing began selling an even longer version of the jet, the 787-10, in June. It has garnered 50 orders so far. The rest of the orders are for the 787-8.
The aircraft used for the tests will eventually be delivered to Air New Zealand in mid-2014, Boeing said.