The Federal Aviation Administration has cleared the newest member of the Boeing Dreamliner family, The Boeing 787-10, for commercial service.
The first plane is due to be delivered to Singapore Airlines in March and is touted by Boeing as a new benchmark for fuel efficiency.
The 787-10 is a stretch of the 787-9 that adds 18ft (5.5m) to the fuselage and can seat up to 330 passengers, about 14 per cent more than 787-9. It can also carry 15 per cent more freight.
The biggest member of the Dreamliner family cannot fly as far as the 787-9 — Boeing puts its range in a typical two-class configuration at 6430 nautical miles (11, 910km) as opposed to the 787-9s 6430 nm (14,140km) — but the company says it can still cover 90 per cent of global commercial airline routes.
The 787-10 promises a 25 per cent fuel reduction per seat on the aircraft it replaces, up from 20 per cent on its sister Dreamliners, and Boeing claims it will beat the competition by 10 per cent.
The FAA approval is expected to be mirrored by other regulators and comes after a successful flight program that began in March, 2017 and used three test planes over about 900 hours.
The flight test program team took the aircraft through a series of tests to confirm the airplane’s handling, systems and overall performance met its own demanding internal requirements as well as those of external regulators.
“We are pleased to have met the rigorous standards set forth by the FAA and are eager to bring the airplane to market for our valued customers,” said 787 program general manager Brad Zaback said in a statement.
“After years of design and testing, our team has proven the quality, safety and reliability of the newest member of the Dreamliner family and we look forward to seeing the airplane in service later this year.”
Boeing has more than 170 orders for the 787-10 from nine customers worldwide.
The US company caused a stir at the Dubai Airshow last year when Emirates announced a surprise commitment for 40 787-10 Dreamliners and related equipment with list price of $US15.1 billion.