LE BOURGET, France – Boeing Co. won major orders from five customers for a stretched-out version of its popular 787 Dreamliner jet at the Paris Air Show Tuesday, further evidence of a strengthening market for more expensive long-haul jets.
Boeing announced the formal launch of its 787-10 program at the Paris Air Show on Tuesday and says it already has commitments for 102 jets from five customers: Air Lease Corp., Singapore Airlines, United Airlines, International Airlines Group and GE Capital Aviation Services. The new 787-10 lists at $290 million, making the deal worth nearly $30 billion at full price, although customers often negotiate deep discounts.
United remains the only U.S.-based airline to fly the 787, which is steadily winning customers after being beset with problems concerning lithium-ion battery on two Japanese carriers. The plane, like its newest rival the Airbus A350, uses lightweight materials and new engine technology to cut down on fuel consumption at a time of rapidly increasing jet fuel prices. Boeing has said passengers will notice bigger windows and an adjustment in cabin pressure which means they will not suffer from jet lag as badly as on other aircraft.
The original 787 can seat between 210 and 250 passengers. Boeing has started building a longer version, the 787-9, that would hold between 250 and 290 passengers, while the 787-10 would seat between 300 and 330.
The air show is a platform for the race for sales between Boeing and its European rival Airbus, which is hoping that the event spark interest in its A350, its long-haul wide-body rival to the 787. The first A350s are expected to be delivered in mid-2014, after the aircraft receives regulatory approval.
United Airlines increased its 787 Dreamliner order to 65 aircraft (including six previously delivered aircraft) with an order for 20 787-10s. United is the North American launch customer for the 787-10 and it expects delivery of its first aircraft in 2018.
United ordered 10 incremental 787-10 aircraft and will convert 10 existing 787s on order to 787-10s, enabling the airline to further modernize its international widebody fleet by replacing older, less efficient aircraft.
United has six new 787-8 aircraft in service and had previous orders for an additional 49 Dreamliners consisting of both the -8 and -9 variants. The 787-10 is a stretched
version of the 787-9 and will offer the lowest fuel burn per seat of any aircraft in its size category.
The 787 offers up to 20 percent better fuel efficiency per seat than similarly sized aircraft, due in part to the more than 50 percent composite makeup of its structure.
The 787 also boasts an enhanced inflight experience including larger windows, larger overhead bins and lower cabin altitude with enhanced ventilation systems that reduce the effects of jet lag.
In July of last year, United announced a narrowbody order for 100 Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft and 50 Boeing 737-900ER aircraft. In addition, United has an order for 25 Airbus
A350 aircraft. The airline is also modernizing its United Express fleet by adding 70 76-seat Embraer aircraft that will be operated by United Express regional partners.