Boeing has unveiled plans for a bigger version of its 787 Dreamliner in efforts to catch up with Airbus in the lucrative long-haul aircraft market. The US planemaker hopes to get the new aircraft off the ground by 2018.
Boeing’s new Dreamliner model was called 787-10, the US planemaker announced at the Paris Air Show on Tuesday. It would follow the original 787 Dreamliner, currently in operation, and its 787-9 version, scheduled to take off for its maiden flight this summer.
Commitments to buy the new aircraft had already been made by United Airlines, Singapore Airlines and British Airways, as well as by aircraft leasing firms ALC and GECAS, Boeing Chief Executive Jim McNerney told reporters at a news conference.
According to Boeing, Singapore Airlines and ALC were its two biggest customers, ordering 30 planes each. United has committed to buying 20 planes while British Airways had signalled a desire for 12. All in all, 102 planes of this type had been ordered so far, Boeing said.
The 787-10 is scheduled to go into operation in 2018, and will be made of light, carbon-based composite materials that reduce fuel consumption. The plane will have between 300 and 330 seats following customers’ demands for higher capacity than Boeing’s current Dreamliner models.
Last week, Airbus successfully completed the maiden flight of its A350 model – a wide-body rival to the 787 with a capacity of more than 300 passengers. The model is said to have stolen a march over Boeing in the lucrative long-haul market segment.