Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner scheduled to make first flight Tuesday

Tue Sep 17, 2013 1:21am EDT
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SEATTLE, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Boeing Co formally scheduled the first flight of its 787-9 Dreamliner jet for Tuesday at 10 am Pacific Time (1700 GMT), a flight that brings closer the stretch version of the high-tech plane.

The 787-9 is 20 feet (6.1 metres) longer than the current production model, the 787-8, allowing it to carry 40 more passengers, for a total of 290.

The new version also is expected to travel about 300 nautical miles farther. Airlines want the greater capacity and range to increase revenue on globe-spanning routes.

Tuesday's flight follows a series of problems with the Dreamliner 787-8 since it entered service in late 2011, three and a half years behind schedule.

The plane was grounded for more than three months earlier this year after two batteries overheated, producing a fire in one case.

The plane also has had problems with its electrical panels and other systems.

Boeing said late on Monday the flight of the 787-9 would go ahead on Tuesday, weather permitting, at Paine Field in Everett, Washington, about 25 miles (40 km) north of Seattle, where Boeing has its main 787 assembly lines. The flight is expected to last about five hours, Boeing said.

The flight comes a day after Bombardier made the first flight of its all-new single-aisle plane, the CSeries, in Mirabel, Quebec.

The CSeries is a smaller challenger to the duopoly of Airbus and Boeing, which have sold more than 3,800 of their competing jets, the A320 and 737 MAX. It also competes with forthcoming E-Jets by Brazil's Embraer.