MIAMI — Boeing’s 787-9 received certifications from both the US FAA and European EASA for commercial service on Monday. The decision clears the way for Air New Zealand to accept the first delivery, expected in the new few weeks.
The certification process for the 787-9, which is a twenty foot stretch derivative of the original -8 Dreamliner, involved over 1,500 hours of flight testing, says Boeing. The entire process lasted only nine months, following a first flight back in September, 2013.
Crucially, the certification also includes ETOPS up to 330 minutes, clearing a hurdle right out of the gate that the 787-8 struggled with for years. In fact the entire final assembly and flight test programs remained remarkably problem free, a nod to what many hope is the end of Boeing’s Dreamliner program troubles.
The first production airplane is expected to be delivered to Air New Zealand in the first week of July. It will then perform a number of proving and crew familiarization flights before entering service in October, 2014. United and ANA are also expected to receive their first -9s this summer.
While the airplane is officially good to go for aircraft based in the US and Europe, carrier’s based outside the two regulatory agencies purview will still need to obtain operating certificates from their home countries.