Boeing 787-9 Will Make Its International Debut This Week

By Jack Harty / Published January 2, 2014

Updated: January 3, 2014 @ 1:09PM EST

Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / Airchive

Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / Airchive

The second Boeing 787-9, ZB002, is set to make its international debut this week. The aircraft will travel to Auckland, New Zealand to visit the launch customer Air New Zealand, and Alice Springs, Australia for flight testing.

The first 787-9 Dreamliner departed Boeing Field just before 10AM PST for Auckland, New Zealand. Track the flight live here via Flight Aware.

“Boeing is proud to bring the 787-9 to Auckland to show Air New Zealand what the team has achieved,” said Mark Jenks, Boeing’s vice president of 787 development. “With more than 150 flights since testing began in September, the test fleet continues to perform very well, and we look forward to delivering the first 787-9 in mid-2014 as promised.”

“Having one of Air New Zealand’s 787-9s touch down on Kiwi soil for the first time is hugely exciting,” said Christopher Luxon, chief executive officer, Air New Zealand. “It’s a real reminder that we will soon welcome the first of these more modern, fuel-efficient airplanes into our fleet.”

After visiting Auckland, the aircraft will to travel to Alice Springs, Australia for a week of hot conditions testing. Boeing chose Alice Springs because it meets the specific test requirements for both facilities and atmospheric conditions. Although testing is scheduled for one week, the length of the stay is contingent on favorable weather.

The aircraft that will be making this trip, ZB002, is the second of the three 787-9s dedicated to the test program. It is the the only 787-9 currently fitted with passenger interior elements, in addition to test racks and instrumentation.

Boeing says they are still on track to deliver the first 787-9 to Air New Zealand in mid-2014. The first revenue flight is already scheduled for October 15, 2014 between Auckland and Perth. We’ve got our tickets booked. How about you?

*Cover photo courtesy of Boeing

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