* Executives cite support for new version of plane
* 787 output on track to rise to 10 a month next year
Nov 26 Boeing Co said on Monday it was
moving ahead with plans for a stretched version of its
fuel-efficient 787 Dreamliner but added that more work is needed
before it obtained company 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 plane built mostly of
composite materials and a powerful rival to the Airbus
"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 787 would be
pitched to airlines for long-haul travel.
Loftis said the backlog of 787 orders was currently split at
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. Boeing said final
assembly of the 787-9 version would likely start in late spring
or early summer next year, with first delivery seen in early
"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, Loftis said.
He said the stretch plane, should it be rolled out, would likely
enter service toward the back end of this decade.
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
in November reached a five-per-month production rate for the
787, which is built in Washington state and South Carolina.
Shares of Boeing closed up 0.7 percent at $74.27 on Monday.