Boeing gets OK to use GE engines

Boeing Co.'s 787-9 Dreamliner got the go-ahead this week to use General Electric engines on the new aircraft.

The new midsize Boeing 787 Dreamliners have been cleared to fly with General Electric engines.

The Federal Aviation Administration certified the use of the GE power plants on Thursday for the bigger 787-9 passenger jet.

The Dash 9 is a stretch version of the original 787-8, which Boeing builds in both North Charleston and Everett, Wash.

The longer model is already being made outside Seattle. Boeing South Carolina is expected to begin later this year on its first 787-9.

United Continental Holdings Inc. will be the launch customer for the 787-9 powered by the newly certified GEnx engines, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. The carrier plans to use the jet initially on domestic routes to familiarize crew members and then on long-haul flights between Los Angeles and Melbourne, Australia.

Delivery of the first jet equipped with the new engines could come as early as next week.

The aircraft was initially certified in June for use with Rolls-Royce engines, enabling deliveries to launch customers Air New Zealand and All Nippon Holdings. Boeing sells the 787 with a choice of engines from either Rolls-Royce or GE.

Boeing had already received FAA certification with Rolls-Royce engines. The first delivery of that configuration occurred in June, according to Reuters news agency.

The stretched Dash 9 Dreamliner is 20 feet longer than the 787-8 and seats 280 passengers - about 30 more than the smaller version - for flights as far as 8,300 nautical miles, or up to 17 hours.

Boeing has orders for 435 of the larger jets.

The 787-8 was first certified by the FAA and European Aviation Safety Agency in August 2011, entering regularly scheduled revenue service about 2½ months later.

The largest version of the Dreamliner, the 787-10, will be assembled exclusively in North Charleston in 2017.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or