This will be a 290-seat (two-class) short-range version of the 787 targeted at high-density flights, with a range of 2,500 to 3,050 nautical miles (4,650 to 5,650 km) when fully loaded. It is designed to replace the Airbus A300/Airbus A310 and Boeing 757-300/Boeing 767-200 on regional routes from airports with restricted gate spacing. It will use the same fuselage as the 787-8, though with some areas of the fuselage strengthened for higher cycles. The wing will be derived from the 787-8, with blended winglets replacing raked wingtips. The change decreased the wingspan by roughly 25 feet, allowing the 787-3 to fit into more domestic gates, particularly in Japan.

This model will be limited in its range by a low Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) of 364,000 lb (163,290 kg) though it will have the same fuel tank capacity as the 787-8. (Actual range is calculated by the remaining available weight capacity for the fuel after the aircraft weight and payload are subtracted from the MTOW). A full load of passengers and cargo would limit the amount of fuel it could take on board, as with the 747-400D. This would only be viable on shorter, high-density routes, such as Tokyo to Shanghai, Osaka to Seoul, or London to Berlin. Many airports charge landing fees depending on the weight of the aircraft; thus, an airliner rated at a lower MTOW, though otherwise identical to its sibling, would pay lower fees.

An artist's impression of a Boeing 787-3, which has winglets and a shorter span

Boeing has projected that the future of aviation between very large (but close) cities of five million or more may stabilize around the capacity level of the 787-3.[118][119] Regions such as India and East Asia, where large population centers are in close proximity, offer many examples. Approximately 3.1 billion people live within the range of the 787-3 if used in India or China. Boeing has also claimed that the 787-3's efficiency could offset the higher landing fees and acquisition costs (compared to a single-aisle plane) and make it useful on such routes.

Boeing also believes legacy carriers could use this variant to compete with low-cost airlines by running twice the capacity of a single-aisle craft for less than twice its operating cost (fuel, landing fees, maintenance, number of flight crew, airspace fees, parking fees, gate fees, etc.).

Beyond Asia, a range of 3,050 nm (5,600 km), or flight time of roughly six hours is sufficient to connect many major cities. The gate spacing constraint that the 787-3 is intended to overcome is really only a problem in Japan. In Europe, the -3 will still be too wide for most short-haul gates and in the Middle East, India and China new airports are being built with wider gate spacing. Boeing had not planned to certify the 787-3 in Europe due to lack of interest in the model from potential European customers.

Forty-three 787-3s have been ordered by the two Japanese airlines that operate the Boeing 747-400D, but production problems on the base 787-8 model have led Boeing to temporarily suspend some work on the 787-3.[120] First delivery of the 787-3 is now scheduled after the introduction of the 787-9[121] in 2013.[122]

Copyright 2012