Boeing has formally handed over the first 787-10 to launch customer Singapore Airlines (SIA).
The official ribbon-cutting took place at Boeing’s North Charleston final assembly line on Monday evening (US time), with the event attended by SIA chief executive Goh Choon Phong, Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief executive Kevin McAllister and Rolls-Royce director for customers and services, civil aerospace Dominic Horwood.
Goh described the 787-10 as a “magnificent piece of engineering and truly a work of art”.
“It is an honour for us to be the world’s first airline to take delivery of this amazing aircraft,” Goh said in a statement.
“It will be an important element in our overall growth strategy, enabling us to expand our network and strengthen our operations.”
“The delivery of the first 787-10 underscores our longstanding commitment to operate a modern fleet, and marks the start of a new chapter in our shared story with Boeing.”
The delivery flight of the aircraft to Singapore, via Osaka, is scheduled to take off from North Charleston on Tuesday (local time), landing at Changi Airport on Wednesday.
Australia will welcome the Boeing 787-10 to these shores for the first time on May 8 when Singapore Airlines (SIA) commences flights to Perth with the next generation widebody.
The airline is switching its daily SQ215/216 rotation from Airbus A330-300 equipment to the 787-10. The flights are scheduled as an evening departure from Singapore, touching down in Perth just before midnight. After about an hour on the ground, the reciprocal SQ216 takes off a little after 0100 for an early morning arrival back in Singapore.
Currently, SIA flies four times daily between Perth and Singapore with a mixture of Boeing 777-200 and A330-300s.
As the aircraft will primarily be deployed within Asia Pacific on routes of up eight hours’ duration, SIA has chosen a two-class layout for the 787-10, comprising 36 new, soon-to-be-revealed, regional business class seats offering direct aisle access for every passenger, and 301 economy class seats in a 3-3-3 layout for a total of 337.
In addition to the improvement in cabin amenities, the switch to the 787-10 also represented a capacity increase of about five per cent on the Perth-Singapore route, given the 777-200s and A330-300s have 266 and 285 seats, respectively.
Perth is the second announced scheduled destination for SIA’s incoming batch of 787-10s. After some short-haul flights to Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur for crew familiarisation purposes following first delivery, SIA will deploy the aircraft on the Singapore-Osaka route from May.
SIA has 49 787-10s on order with Boeing. Once the first of the type is delivered, the airline group will have all three Dreamliner variants in its operations, given low-cost carrier Scoot’s fleet comprises both the 787-8 and 787-9.
The 787-10 is the largest variant of Boeing’s 787 program and is capable of flying 6,430nm when configured with 330 passengers in a two-class layout, according to Boeing figures.
At 68.2m, the 787-10 is a 5.5m stretch on the 787-9 that began flying in August 2014. The first 787 variant, the -8, made its commercial debut in October 2011 with launch customer All Nippon Airways (ANA).
The 787-10 received its amended type certificate from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in late January, following a flight test program that kicked off in March 2017 and accumulated 900 test hours.
Apart from SIA, airlines that fly to Australia and have ordered the 787-10 included ANA, British Airways, Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways, EVA Air and United.
Aviation thinktank CAPA – Centre for Aviation said the 787-10 was a key component of SIA’s fleet strategy as it would help lower costs and usher in a new phase of growth as older A330-300s and 777-200/200ERs are withdrawn.
“The lower unit costs generated by 787-10s enable SIA to compete better in an intensely competitive regional market – against LCCs, as well as aggressive full service airlines,” CAPA said in a research note dated February 21.
“SIA the parent airline has not grown over the past decade and is betting that the 787-10 is the right platform to support a resumption of growth.”
“The 787-10, which will account for more than a third of SIA’s fleet in 2023, could be a game changer for SIA.”
The Boeing website lists 171 orders for the 787-10 as of January 2018.
Boeing also covered the delivery ceremony on Twitter.
787-10 First Delivery https://t.co/A8IdlDYYEE
— Boeing Airplanes (@BoeingAirplanes) March 24, 2018
The company also offered a glimpse into the final assembly line at its North Charleston facility which will produce all 787-10s.
— Boeing Airplanes (@BoeingAirplanes) March 25, 2018
“This is a big day for all of us at Boeing and for our global supplier partners,” McAllister said.
“We are thrilled to deliver the first 787-10 Dreamliner to Singapore Airlines, one of the world’s leading carriers. And we are honoured by Singapore Airlines’ partnership and trust, as reflected by their repeated orders for the Dreamliner.”