Boeing begins final assembly on 787-9 Dreamliner

The newest member of the Dreamliner family will be longer than its predecessor and is expected to be delivered in early 2014.

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Assembly begins on the 787-9 Dreamliner. Boeing

Boeing has begun final assembly of the first 787-9 Dreamliner, the newest member of the Dreamliner family, Boeing announced Sunday.

The aircraft maker began joining together large sections of what it's billing as a "super-efficient jet" last week after its partners delivered the first sections on or ahead of schedule, the company said.

"Integrating the 787-9 into our production system on time is another clear sign that we are well prepared and well positioned for the work ahead," Mark Jenks, Boeing's vice president of 787 Airplane Development, said in a statement.

The announcement comes as airlines resume normal service of the 787 Dreamliner, which was grounded for several months following ignition and overheating issues related to the aircraft's on-board batteries. The airliner returned to the skies last month after the Federal Aviation Administration approved Boeing measures designed to prevent the issues.

The 787-9 features a fuselage that is 20 feet longer than its predecessor, allowing it to carry 40 extra passengers an additional 300 miles while consuming 20 percent less fuel than similarly-sized airplanes, Boeing said.

The aircraft, which sports a host of passenger comfort features such as dimmable windows, higher humidity, and cleaner air, is expected to be delivered early next year. Boeing said 20 customers have placed for 355 787-9s, comprising 40 percent of orders for the entire 787 line.