The newest addition to the Boeing 787 line of passenger jets completed its first test flight Tuesday. The U.S.-based aviation company's new 787-9 took off from an airfield in Washington state near the factory where the plane was assembled while several hundred Boeing employees cheered.
The 787-9 is six meters longer and can seat 40 more passengers than the original 787-8, which carries between 210 and 250 passengers. Boeing also says the newest version of the fuel-efficient jetliner known as the Dreamliner can also carry more cargo and fly further.
After flight tests and certification, the first 787-9 will be delivered next June to Air New Zealand, the launch customer.
The original 787-8 was delivered in September 2011, nearly three years behind schedule, because of production problems.
The worldwide fleet of about 50 planes was grounded for almost four months this year after lithium batteries burned.
A redesigned battery system has been built into the 787-9.