Nov 26 Boeing Co said on Monday it was moving
ahead with plans for a stretch version of its fuel-efficient 787
Dreamliner but added that more work is needed before it obtained
approval for an official launch.
Boeing has said it has been talking with airlines and
leasing companies to define specifications for the 787-10, which
would be the biggest version of the revolutionary plane and a
powerful rival to the Airbus A330.
"We've got a lot of support all the way through the company
including our board of directors," Larry Loftis, vice president
and general manager of the 787 program, said when speaking of
the 787-10 during an investor call hosted by RBC Capital Markets
"We still have some more work to do before we'd be ready to
launch the program and/or be given authority to launch the
program," Loftis added.
The expected longer, biggest version of the
carbon-composite, fuel-efficient 787 would be pitched to
airlines for long-haul travel.
Loftis said the backlog of the 787 was currently about 60
percent for the 787-8 model, which can carry 210 to 250
passengers, and 40 percent for the 787-9, a slightly bigger
version that is designed to seat up to 290.
"Clearly our customers have told us ... that they would
prefer us to focus on fuel-burn economics versus extending
range" should the company launch a 787-10 version, he said.
Boeing said it was still looking to raise 787 production
rates to 10 a month by the end of 2013. Pat Shanahan, Boeing
senior vice president for airplane programs, said a rate of
seven a month would likely be reached in mid-2013. The company
reached the five-a-month production rate for the 787, which is
built in Washington and South Carolina, in November.
Shares of Boeing were up 0.3 percent to $73.97 in afternoon