First 787 with interiors to fly by month's end

Seattle
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Boeing's first 787 to feature interior components is expected to begin flight tests by the end of February.

The aircraft, ZA003, has been fitted with a partial interior, including instrumentation racks, flight-test equipment and engineer workstations. It has 135 seats, multiple lavatories and two crew rests and provides what Boeing calls "a glimpse into the new flying experience the airplane will offer".

Certificating the interior components involves analyses and testing of the lighting, lavatories, stowage bins, dimmable windows and galleys. In-flight entertainment systems have not been installed. Testing of the Panasonic and Thales IFE platforms on offer to 787 customers will not take place until the first production aircraft are equipped with those systems, says Boeing Commercial Airplanes director of 787 interiors, Tom Galantowicz.

Meanwhile, Boeing is sticking to its catalogue approach for customising the 787 interior. "Probably the greatest amount of variability you'll see is in the seating choices they [airlines] make. Some airlines are looking at higher-density configurations for their route structure. Some will be in longer haul and might have three classes.

"When the airline starts making those choices, it starts the snowball effect of the collateral changes they might have. They'll choose the number of galleys they need. The number of lavatories they need. But things like the lighting system, the fundamentals behind the interior, will be a part of every 787," says Galantowicz.

While 787 customers must select economy-class seating from the catalogue, they have the option to make their own decisions on first- and business-class seating.

Delivery of the first 787 to launch customer All Nippon Airways is planned for the fourth quarter of this year.