Boeing has delivered the first GE Aviation-powered 787-9 off the production line to United Airlines, which also becomes the first North American customer to receive the stretched model of the Dreamliner.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last month approved certification of GE’s second performance improvement package (PIP II) of the GEnx-1B engine, clearing Boeing to begin deliveries of the 74,000lb-thrust variant that powers the 787-9.
The GE-powered aircraft joins deliveries of 787-9s powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 Package C engines to All Nippon Airlines and Air New Zealand. The latter was the first carrier to take delivery of the 290-seat-class 787-9 on 9 July.
United has ordered 26 787-9s to be configured with 252 seats, including 48 in the carrier’s premium BusinessFirst cabin, 88 in Economy Plus and 116 in Economy.
The Star Alliance carrier also operates 249-seat 787-8 aircraft.
United vice-president of fleet Ron Bauer says the 787-9 will offer “even more flexibility and range”.
Boeing lists the 787-9 with 8,300nm (15,400km) range, or 350nm greater than the 787-8 in the company’s standard configuration.
United will install a battery of bespoke software and hardware on the 787-9s before commencing route-proving flights in late September between Los Angeles and the carrier’s Houston hub.
Inaugural service from Los Angeles to Melbourne, Australia, is scheduled for 26 October.