MIAMI — Boeing has announced that the 787-10 Dreamliner has received the Amended Type Certificate (ATC) from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

This certificate indicates that the aircraft is now cleared for commercial service. The awarding of this certificate comes in after more than 900 test flight hours were accomplished, which began in the first half of 2017.

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“We are pleased to have met the rigorous standards set forth by the FAA and are eager to bring the airplane to market for our valued customers,” said Brad Zaback, vice president and general manager of the 787 program.

“After years of design and testing, our team has proven the quality, safety, and reliability of the newest member of the Dreamliner family and we look forward to seeing the airplane in service later this year.”

Now that Boeing has received the FAA approval, the other regulatory approvals that they still require should now pave the way to full global commercial service.

When approved, the aircraft will be able to carry up to 330 passengers and can travel up to 6,430 nautical miles in one go.

Boeing believes that they can start deliveries of the type in the first half of 2018, meaning that the nine customers who have ordered over 170 units will be able to receive their aircraft this year and going into the end of the decade.

In terms of deliveries, Singapore Airlines (SQ) is going to be the first carrier to receive the aircraft type this year. These 787-10s will go hand-in-hand with the A350s that the airline has in their fleet and on order.

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The Boeing 787-10, alongside its smaller sister, the 787-9, will go head-to-head with the A350-900 and A350-1000 on passenger capacity as they all fall into the 250-350 seat category.

Like with the Airbus programs, Boeing has 95% commonality on the 787-10, meaning that training pilots the transition from one variant to the next will be far simpler and far more cost-effective.

Airbus also share the same approach to flight training and offer commonality on the A320 family right up to the A350 program respectively.

What’s Next For Boeing?

Now that Boeing has, more or less, completed their 787 family approval, they will be looking towards their next project: the Boeing 777X.

The Boeing 777X will be able to sit between 350-425 seats, posing a potential threat to the Airbus A350-1000 and also to the A380 program.

The 777X can travel between 7,500-8,600 nautical miles on one tank and could provide more market affordability compared to that of the A380, where it has only been able to secure an order in a few years.

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The Boeing 777X has only around seven customers at the moment and will be looking to secure more orders at the Farnborough Air Show in July.

From the seven customers, around 326 units have been ordered so far. Boeing surely expects to receive more orders for the type, wishing to keep the program far away from the fate that nipped the wings of the Boeing 747-8 program.

And with only 40 orders for the standard Boeing 777-300(ER) in 2017, it will be interesting to see what they have up their sleeve to increase the order count going into 2018.

Boeing seems to be taking this one step at a time. More emphasis and focus has been put on the 787-10 than the 777X currently.

Now that it is receiving approval, the 777X could be the next proper big focus for Boeing to make the sales they so desperately need in what looks to be a dying larger aircraft market.