Boeing's newest, largest Dreamliner completes first flight

Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:07pm EDT
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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (Reuters) - Boeing Co's (BA.N: Quote) newest and largest Dreamliner model, the 787-10, successfully made its first flight on Friday, kicking off a test program for the high-tech jet.

The plane, which sells for $312.8 million at list price and rounds out a family of three carbon-fiber composite Dreamliners, flew well, the pilots said.

"We had a great flight," Captain Tim Berg said at a news conference after the flight. The plane "performed exactly like we thought it would."

The flight was one of three initial voyages on Friday, joining the Airbus (AIR.PA: Quote) A319neo jetliner and the Antonov An-132D, a light turboprop military transport developed with Saudi Arabia.

Boeing's 787-10 is being built at Boeing's factory in North Charleston, South Carolina, due to its large size. The facility is Boeing's only jetliner assembly factory outside of Washington state and, in contrast to the others, is not unionized.

Last month, the new plane provided a dramatic backdrop for President Donald Trump's visit to the Boeing factory, where he promised to boost U.S. manufacturing and punish companies for moving jobs overseas.

Companies in Japan, China, Italy, Sweden, France and Britain produce many of the 787's major components, such as wings, fuselage sections and the rudder. Airlines can choose engines from General Electric Co (GE.N: Quote) of the United States, or Britain's Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc (RR.L: Quote).

The first 787-10 took off at 9:38 a.m. EDT (1338 GMT) and landed at 2:35 pm EDT.

The plane is a second and final "stretch," of the original 787-8, which debuted in 2011. It is 18 feet (5.5 meters) longer than the 787-9 and seats 330 passengers, 40 more than the 787-9 and 88 more than the 787-8.   Continued...

Employees and guest watch during the first flight ceremony of the new Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner at the Charleston International Airport in North Charleston, South Carolina, United States March 31, 2017.  REUTERS/Randall Hill