EVERETT, Wash., Sept. 18 (UPI) -- An executive at U.S. plane maker Boeing said the new Dreamliner would hopefully lift the brand's reputation, just as it lifts its passengers.
"We're beginning to lay the seeds of a track record that hopefully will translate into confidence with our customers," said Scott Fancher, the company's vice president of airplane development.
Boeing on Tuesday took the new Dreamliner 787-9 on its maiden flight -- an event that could represent the start in Boeing's efforts to repair the brand's reputation, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The smaller 787-8 Dreamliner finally made it to market it 2011 after about three years of delays. It was then beset by safety concerns after several fires in a battery compartment caused regulators to ground the plane for nearly four months early this year.
The 787-9 is known as the "Dash 9" at the company. It is 20 feet longer than the 787-8 and travels further on the same amount of fuel, the Journal reported.
Another fundamental change with the newer version is that less of the work is outsourced than is outsourced with the first Dreamliner, an issue that contributed to the long delays getting the 787-8 market-ready, the Journal said.
Fancher said 60 percent to 70 percent of the Dash 9 was designed in-house by Boeing engineers, as opposed to 40 percent for the 787-8.
Another difference: The Dash 9 is expected to cost $10 million to $12 million more than its predecessor, analysts at Barclays estimated.
The sticker price on the smaller model is about $100 million, the Journal said.