Dreamliner certified for flight

NEW YORK — The Federal Aviation Administration has cleared the way for the new Boeing 787 to take its first commercial flight.

Both the FAA and European regulators certified the plane for flight on Friday. Boeing completed flight tests on the 787 this month.

Boeing plans to deliver the first 787 to Japan's All Nippon Airways in September. The airline plans to fly it for the first time as a charter on Oct. 26 and begin regular service Nov. 1.

Plagued by various production problems, delivery is about three years late. The Chicago airline maker has orders from 55 customers for more than 800 of the planes. They will cost $185.2 million to $218.1 million apiece.

More than half of the Boeing 787 is made with composite materials. Boeing Co. says the airplane will be quieter and use 20 percent less fuel than planes of similar size. It will hold between 200 and 330 passengers, depending on the layout.

Boeing made its initial application for the 787 in March 2003. The first model was rolled out in July 2007. The airplane first flew in late 2009.

The planes will be built in Washington state and South Carolina. Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita builds the 787's nose section and pylons.

"I congratulate Boeing and its work force on reaching this incredible milestone," said Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire.

"Certification of the 787 Dreamliner begins a new chapter in the company's long history that will include one of the most innovative and fuel-efficient airplanes in the world."

About 78,000 of Boeing's 168,000 workers are in Washington.