Which Boeing 787 Variant Is Most Popular?

Since ANA launched the 787-8 commercially in October 2011, Boeing’s Dreamliner has represented the changing face of long-haul air travel. The advent of the 787 has been one of the catalysts for the trend towards highly-efficient, twin-engine long-haul airliners. In its wake, the development of the Airbus A330neo, A350, and Boeing 777X has flourished, while the four-engine Airbus A340, A380, and Boeing 747 are becoming increasingly obsolete.

Uzbekistan Airways
The 787-8 is the smallest Dreamliner variant, but how popular is it? Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Having been a trigger for this trend, Boeing currently produces three variants of the 787. But which version of the Dreamliner is the most popular?

The Boeing 787-9

Air New Zealand was the launch customer for the mid-sized 787-9, and operated its first commercial flight from Auckland to Sydney in August 2014. This variant has a two-class capacity of 290 passengers, although an all-economy layout can seat 406. Its exit limit is set at 420.

Despite not flying commercially until three years after the original 787-8, this version has since overtaken it in terms of popularity. This is presumably thanks, in part, to boasting the best range of any Dreamliner. Indeed, the 787-9 can operate flights up to 14,140 km (7,635 NM) long.

Air New Zealand was the 787-9’s launch customer, and it currently operates 14 examples. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

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All in all, the 787-9 accounts for more than half of all Dreamliner orders and deliveries. To date, Boeing has delivered 556 examples of the type, and a further 324 examples remain unfulfilled. This gives the aircraft a total order book of a staggering 880 aircraft. Japanese carrier ANA operates the most examples of the 787-9 with 36 aircraft, just edging out United with 35 examples.

The Boeing 787-8

The 787-8 was Boeing’s original Dreamliner variant, and it is also the smallest member of this highly-efficient family. It measures 56.72 meters long, with a typical two-class capacity of 242 passengers. A one-class layout can seat up to 359, and its exit limit is set at 381. The 787-8 has a range, when fitted with the typical two-class configuration, of 13,620 km (7,355NM).

ANA Boeing 787-8
ANA launched the 787-8 in 2011 and is its largest operator. Photo: Melvinnnnnnnnnnn (FN2187) via Flickr

In terms of popularity, the 787-8 ranks second out of Boeing’s three Dreamliner variants. As we approach the 10th anniversary of its first commercial flight, 375 examples of the 787-8 have been delivered. A further 46 orders presently remain unfulfilled, giving a total order book of 421 examples for the smallest, and original, version of the 787. Launch customer ANA is the 787-8’s largest operator, boasting 36 examples that fly both domestically and internationally.

The Boeing 787-10

The 787-10 is the largest and most recent development of Boeing’s Dreamliner. At 68.28 meters long, it dwarfs the original 787-8 by more than 11.5 meters. This is reflected in its capacity, which totals 330 passengers in a typical two-class configuration. A one-class, high-density layout can seat up to 440 passengers, which is also the type’s exit limit. This variant has the lowest range of any Dreamliner, coming in at (a still rather impressive) 11,910 km (6,430 NM).

United Airlines Boeing 787-10 San Francisco
The majority of 787-10 orders are yet to be delivered. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

As it stands, the 787-10 is far less popular than its smaller family members. This is perhaps not surprising, as it was the last variant to be launched, with deliveries only commencing in 2018. Nonetheless, 61 examples have now been delivered, around a quarter of which (15) are operated by launch customer Singapore Airlines. A further 142 orders remain unfulfilled, giving the 787-10 a total order book of 203 aircraft.

Which is your favorite Boeing 787 variant? Have you ever flown on a Dreamliner, and, if so, with which airline(s)? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!