Whilst the Boeing 787-8 has already transported more than 15 million passengers worldwide, its big brother, longer by eight metres ( 26 ft. ) will soon enter the scene. To learn a little more, we went to Boeing country in Everett, Washington state. In this 400,000 m2 ( 4,300,000 sq.ft. ) plant, the quickest way to get around is by golf cart, because it's here on these assembly lines that the American airframer assembles the 747, the 777 with its immense engine of almost 3.50 metres ( 11.50 ft. ) diameter, and of course its Dreamliner.
The aircraft are lined up, head to tail, one after the other, like these 787's destined for British Airways, LAN, and ANA. Currently, ten Dreamliner's roll off the line every month, and soon, two more will be added.
At Bugatti Dowty, a subsidiary of the Safran group responsible for the manufacture of the long-haul's undercarriage landing gear, we spoke to Boeing's Jim Haas who expressed optimism regarding the production of their 787-9.
Jim Haas, Product Marketing Manager - Boeing Commercial Airplanes :
"The assembly process is largely the same, we've done some fine tuning to optimize it. We are right on schedule. We loaded the airplane into final assembly the exact day we predicted we would three years earlier. The airplane weight is right on specification, and the airplane going through flight test is on or ahead of schedule."
Thanks to three prototypes, the 787-9 has already carried out over 400 test flights, with more than 1,000 hours in the air. Delivery of the new version Dreamliner to Air New Zealand is expected this summer. Entry into service of the 787-10 is expected during 2018. To date, firm orders for the Boeing long-haul total some 1,031.