By Susanna Ray
Boeing Co. (BA) said work has begun on the new 787-9 jet, a stretched version of the 787-8 Dreamliner, as Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. (7012) began installing door frames in part of the fuselage.
Final assembly will be completed next year at Boeing’s main wide-body jet plant in Everett, Washington, Randy Tinseth, the planemaker’s marketing chief, said in a blog post on the company website. The first flight will be next year as well, and the plane will be delivered to the first customer in 2014, Tinseth wrote.
The 787-9 is 20 feet (6 meters) longer than the 787-8 and will carry 16 percent more passengers as far as 8,500 nautical miles (15,700 kilometers), he wrote. The 787-8, the first version of the plane, carries as many as 250 people on routes of up to 8,200 nautical miles.
The Dreamliner is the world’s first composite-plastic airliner. It was 3 1/2 years late when it entered service last year, after Boeing struggled with the new materials and manufacturing processes it developed for the plane.