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Boeing's new 787-10 heats up jet battle
Last Updated:2013-06-19 00:00 | Shanghai Daily
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Boeing launched a larger version of its flagship Dreamliner aircraft at the Paris Air Show yesterday, intensifying the battle with rival Airbus in the booming market for fuel-efficient, long-haul jets.

The hotly anticipated announcement of the 787-10 Dreamliner, with 102 firm orders worth nearly US$30 billion at list prices, is a vote of support for the lightweight, carbon-composite jet just months after the first version was grounded by battery problems.

It came shortly after Airbus clinched an order worth about US$11.5 billion at list prices from British budget airline easyJet for 135 of its A320 and A320neo planes on day two of the aerospace industry's showcase event.

The two announcements epitomize the battle between US-based Boeing and its European rival Airbus as they slug it out for the lion's share of the US$100 billion a year global jet market.

In the past couple of years, the fight has centered on the market for popular smaller models. But the focus has shifted in recent months to the next generation of larger planes, with Airbus successfully completing a test flight of its answer to the Dreamliner - the A350 - on the eve of the Paris show.

"We promised a strong launch, and we have achieved it," Boeing Chief Executive Jim McNerney said at a signing ceremony yesterday.

The buyers of the new 787-10 are Air Lease Corp and Singapore Airlines with 30 planes each, United Airlines with 20, British Airways with 12, and GE Capital Services with 10.

The third variant of the Dreamliner family will have a range of nearly 13,000 kilometers, with seating for up to 330 passengers, and to serve fast-growing routes within Asia.

It will be 25 percent more efficient to operate than current comparable planes, Boeing Commercial Airplanes Chief Executive Ray Conner said.

The 787-8, introduced in late 2011, was grounded worldwide in January after its lithium-ion batteries overheated on two jets in about a week. It resumed commercial service in May after Boeing installed a redesigned battery system on the 50 jets in service.

The 787-10 plane "will be one of the most powerful wide-body aircraft for decades ahead," Air Lease Chief Executive Steven Udvar-Hazy said at the ceremony. "We believe it will be very profitable for us."

Boeing said that it was already designing the new jet and that it expected to begin final assembly in 2017, with the first delivery scheduled for 2018.

United Airlines said it expected to receive its first 787-10 in 2018, while Udvar-Hazy said Air Lease would take first delivery in the spring of 2019.

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