Boeing clears firm configuration hurdle for 787-9

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Boeing today announced its engineering team has finalised the basic design and overall capability for the second member of the 787 aircraft series.

The 787-9, seating between 250-290 passengers, now has completed the firm configuration process.

The supply chain can now start working on the details of ramping up production of the first aircraft ahead of scheduled first delivery to Air New Zealand in 2013.

"The team has done a fantastic job to get us through this important milestone," says Scott Fancher, Boeing's vice president and general manager for the 787.

The 787-9 is 6.1m (20ft) longer than the 787-8, offering 16% more seating area. Both variants share the same, 60.1m wingspan.

Despite its larger size, Boeing expects the 787-9 to be more fuel efficient than its smaller stablemate, flying up to 15,750km (8,500nm) using 379 liters (100USgal) less fuel.