The first 787-9 is approaching final assembly in Seatlle, with components for the Air New Zealand aircraft being prepared for installation. Air New Zealand is the launch customer for the 787-9, with 10 of the aircraft being introduced into between 2014 and 2017.
The airline’s CEO Christopher Luxon said it was “hugely exciting to see the first ever 787-9 taking shape because of the significant growth opportunities these aircraft present for our business.
“Having 10 new long haul aircraft enter our fleet over the next four years means we will be able to add more capacity and greater frequency to existing destinations, as well as explore new destination opportunities throughout the Pacific Rim,” Luxon added.
Boeing’s vice president of marketing, Randy Tinseth said, “Receiving the first major part is an exciting and visible sign of the progress we’re making on the 787-9. We look forward to the first flight of the 787-9 later this year and the first delivery in early in 2014 to Air New Zealand, our valued partner.” Construction of the aircraft is currently three weeks ahead of schedule.
Air New Zealand expects the first of its new fleet of 787-9 aircraft to operate on the airline’s international network from mid-2014.