I hope you saw the news that our largest and most-efficient 787 Dreamliner, the 787-10, is now cleared for commercial service. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration granted the airplane an amended type certificate (ATC), which means the airplane has met rigorous standards for quality, safety and reliability.
I talked with our engineering and flight test teams and they say the roughly 900 hours of testing across three airplanes not only validated the jet’s design, they also proved what we had expected: The 787-10 will have the best operating economics of any airplane in its class when it enters service this year.
Simply put, the airplane provides more passenger and cargo capacity at better fuel efficiency than the competition, while offering the preferred the Dreamliner experience that passengers love, including the largest windows, more comfortable air and a smoother ride.
Most of you are in the industry so I can dive deeper into the numbers. Think about this…
A “simple stretch” of the 787-9, the 787-10 offers room for 40 more seats (for a total of 330 seats in a two-class configuration) with an increase in operating costs of just a few percentage points. You can imagine that that provides a lot of profit potential for operators.
The competition can’t come close. The 787-10 has 25 percent better fuel costs per seat than the A330, and about 10 percent better than the A350-900, while having lower overall trip costs than both Airbus jets.
All of this makes the 787-10 a profitability machine on medium to long-haul routes that have high traffic. You can see why marquee carriers like Singapore Airlines have placed 211 orders and commitments for this Dreamliner model. Last November, Emirates committed to the 787-10 at the Dubai Airshow.
While our Sales & Marketing teams were out selling the 787-10, our engineering and flight test teams were hard at work making sure we can deliver on the commitments. And I have to tell you they did a great job. They achieved all of the key milestones in a disciplined fashion, often ahead of schedule.
What really helped is that our team built on the many lessons we learned while developing the two earlier Dreamliner models. For one, we kept the 787-10’s design more than 95 percent common with the 787-9. This allowed us to reduce the number of test airplanes and shorten the test flows.
That set the stage for a drama-free certification process, just the way we like it. But, we’re not quite done yet. Our team is working with other validating agencies and moving closer to first delivery and entry into service.