With around 400 in sales, the Boeing 787-8 faced some initial design and production issues by the time the first example was delivered in 2011. Boeing has been upfront about preferring the more profitable 787-9 to the lower-margin -8. Hopes remain high that the stretched 787-10 will also be a profitable aircraft for the company, although initial orders have been sluggish.
Let’s look at the 767 family for a quick comparison. The 767-200 was the initial launch model, like the 787-8. Its sales were quickly surpassed by the more popular, higher capacity 767-300. The further stretched 767-400 was never well-received, and did not produce the sales Boeing had hoped. The -300 series accounts for more than half the total number of 767s produced.
Maybe we’re seeing a similar trend in the 787 family. The 787-9 is clearly the most profitable model, and Boeing has orders for nearly 700 units to date. Time will tell if the 787-10 will meet, exceed or fall short of Boeing’s sales expectations. Based on current trends, however, the -9 appears to be the Dreamliner that will leave the largest mark on aviation history.
What are your thoughts on the developmental similarities of these two Boeing aircraft? Do you think sales trends for the 787 will mirror that of the 767 it was intended to replace?