Boeing delivered its first stretched-out, wide-body 787-10 Dreamliner jet tonight, scoring yet another first in the process.
The ceremonial handover to Singapore Airlines, attended by thousands of Boeing employees and VIPs, marked the first time that the first commercial jet in a Boeing breed was delivered at the company’s factory in North Charleston, S.C.
Boeing says the stretch 787-10 will be made exclusively in South Carolina because its midbody is too large to be flown to the company’s main wide-body factory in Everett, Wash.
Unlike Boeing’s facilities in the Puget Sound region, the South Carolina operation is non-unionized. But Boeing says that’s not a factor in the division of labor. The Everett factory continues to build Boeing’s 787-8 and 787-9 Dreamliners, with plenty of work to go around.
The 787-10 fills out the Boeing Dreamliner line. It’s about 18 feet longer than the 787-9 and has a two-class seat capacity of 330 passengers, compared with 290 for the 787-9. Its has a range of 7,400 statute miles (6,430 nautical miles), roughly 1,500 statute miles less than the 787-9’s range.
When the plane delivered tonight enters service, sometime in May, Singapore Airlines will become the first airline group to operate all three of the 787 variants (thanks in part to its subsidiary, Scoot).
Singapore Airlines has 48 more 787-10s on order — and it also has a deal to buy 20 of the larger, longer-range 777-9s, which are part of Boeing’s new 777X family.
The airline’s CEO, Goh Choon Phong, said in a news release that “the 787-10 underscores Singapore Airlines’ longstanding commitment to operate a modern fleet, and marks the start of a new chapter in our shared story with Boeing.”
Goh called the plane “a magnificent piece of engineering and truly a work of art,” which echoes the opinion expressed by President Donald Trump when he attended the 787-10’s rollout a little more than a year ago. “What an amazing piece of art,” Trump said at the time.
Boeing’s 787 line is in competition with the A330neo airplanes offered by Europe’s Airbus consortium.
The U.S. manufacturer scored points last week when American Airlines said it was ending talks with Airbus over a potential A330neo deal. That left the 787 as the likeliest alternative, although American Airlines told Bloomberg News that it hasn’t yet made a final decision.
Over the weekend, Australia’s Qantas airline helped Boeing take an extra share of the spotlight by using a 787-9 Dreamliner to inaugurate 17-hour trips between Perth and London — the first scheduled nonstop flights to link Australia and Britain.