It may be slightly earlier than it would like in an ideal world, but customer demand is driving Boeing towards putting a stretched 787 into service in the second half of 2010. "Our initial thoughts were that 2012 would work for the stretch, but it comes down to what the market really wants," says 787 programme director Mike Bair.

Boeing is aiming to finalise the design of the stretched 787 by 2007 or 2008, with the first discussions to start defining the configuration taking place later this year.

At present, Boeing sees the 787-9 seating around 259 people in a three-class cabin layout, but Bair stresses that the company has the flexibility to change this. The standard 787-8 version of the aircraft seats 223 people in a three-class layout.

Source: Flight Daily News