As we get ready for this week’s first flight of the 787-9 it is a good time to review the 787 order book to see how the program is evolving. The following chart breaks down orders to date by model.
The -8 has been around the longest but interest in the -9 is growing fast. A number of airlines have converted their -8 orders to the -9 variant. The following table lists conversions from the -8 to the -9. Not on the tabel are Air Canada and Singapore who may have also undertaken conversions but there are no public details.
These changes come from some of the biggest airlines and could be a sign of future orders. Indeed we can see that as Boeing has brought on the larger models, interest in these have grown at the expense of the -8.
Since 2010 the -8 has attracted less interest than the larger models. The -9 has significantly better economics than the -8: 14% more passenger capacity plus 6% better range with rumored 8% seat cost improvement. Boeing has learned from the development of the -8 and the -9 is apparently at or near its target weight. It would be no surprise to expect Boeing to be delighted to see customers convert to the -9 because it is likely a more profitable model for the company. Going forward we expect to see the larger models account for more than half future orders.