The Boeing Dreamliner family gets bigger – plans underway to unveil a new version of B787-10

The stretched version of the 787-9–>the 787-10 is the newest and longest member of the super-efficient 787 families. Often compared with the long-range, wide-body- A350, manufactured by Airbus in response to the 787 Dreamliner, the two incorporate the most efficient technology available.

The Guardian

The A350 can handle more passengers than the B787 in a two-class configuration, while the B787 takes the top spot when it comes to fuel efficiency. In other words, the A350 obviously has a longer range while the B787 simply burns the fuel better.

Representative | Arabian Aerospace

If reports are anything to go by, Boeing is now in plans of launching a High Gross Weight (HGW) version of the 787-10-the largest variant of the Dreamliner family.

Why would Boeing go for a new design, now that it is already beset with numerous 787 production and quality issues?

Despite the 787-10’s range being lesser than other variants of the family, it has played a significant role in the trans-Atlantic, before the pandemic. The aircraft type has also often been deployed on trans-pacific routes such as San Francisco – Auckland and Los Angeles – Shanghai Pudong.

Reportedly, Air New Zealand, which is planning to retire its entire 777 aircraft and simplify its long-haul fleet to a single type, has held talks with Boeing for a higher MTOW version of the 787-10 so that the airline can use these aircraft without cargo and passenger restrictions on its transpacific routes to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Vancouver.

The A350 vs B787

Representative | Source

The 787-10 has a capacity of seating up to 440 passengers with a maximum range of  6,430NM (7,400 miles). The A350 can fly  8,100NM (9,320 miles) at the same passenger capacity as the 787. The massive difference in the overall range restricts the 787 to operate only on regional or select long-haul routes, with ultra-long routes totally out of the cards. Boeing clearly wanted that to change, which is quite evident from its recent announcement.

The B787-10 ER (Extended Range)

As the very name suggests, the reprised model would have a higher take-off weight (MTOW) and carry more fuel for extended operations.

Representative | Quartz

While the concept of an “extended range” is not new to the 787-10, basically, it would allow:

  • Easy replacement of the 777-200ER with more than 25% improved fuel efficiency, also not withstanding the added benefit of adding upto 42 seats more
  • Addition of 60 extra seats for the same range as in for an A330-900 neo. This would tactically reduce operational costs by 17% while also allowing for 20% additional payload.
  • A noteworthy payload advantage over the -900 version of the A350, with 9 more seats, a 2% lower trip, and 8% lower cost per seat

Reportedly, the High Gross Weight (HGW) version of the 787-10 would be a boon for several operators in the transpacific market to ultimately replace their entire ageing fleet of the 777s, without adding a new group of pilots.

The “extended range”-a feature of the 787-10 would once again bring the aircraft type into the spotlight after having been replaced over for other types in the past, for instance, when Emirates preferred to choose the 787-9 over -10 citing the latter’s lack of overall range.

Furthermore, there are also talks of an HGW version of the B787-9 in the making. The 787-9 has had a pivotal role in ultra-long-range flights since its inception-making 5 of the 10 longest flights in the world.

787-9 | Representative | Airways Magazine

The -9 has been Qantas’ test model on experimental Project Sunrise flights between Sydney to New York and London Heathrow. Project Sunrise is an ambitious initiative by Qantas to operate the world’s longest nonstop flights, which would allow travellers to fly between London and New York to the eastern Australian cities of Sydney and Melbourne. The inaugural flights of Project Sunrise – named the double sunrises which passengers and crew would experience on these epic journeys – were initially slated for 2023.

Representative | Source

The completion of the 787-9 HGW could help realize Qantas’ dream and initiate a new era of ultra-long-range flights.

Historically, rolling out the “Extended Range(s)” version of in-service flights have worked wonders for the Boeing company, which again, is quite evident from the record sales of the 767-300ER and 777-300ER.

That said, although the Dreamliner program is shrouded with numerous production and quality issues, there’s still hope about the continuation of the 787 programs.


COVER: Rishworth Aviation

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