Dreamliner remains on track

For Boeing, that means the 787-9 and the still undefined 787-10, which would seat more than 300 passengers.

The 787-10 would not be available until at least 2012, but that's a year before the Airbus A350-900 and three years before the A350-1000.

The A350 is bigger than the 787, and the A350-1000 is almost as big as Boeing's 777-300.

Mayrhuber said Lufthansa is evaluating data from Airbus on the A350-900 and the A350-1000.

Some industry analysts have suggested that Lufthansa may have signaled its intentions by not ordering the 787 when it became the launch customer in December for the 747-8 Intercontinental, Boeing's bigger and more efficient jumbo jet.

But Mayrhuber said that is not so.

"I don't want to take any short cuts (in the evaluation)," he said. "They are both (A350 and 787) in the race."

Mayrhuber also said he is not worried that Lufthansa remains the only airline customer for the 747-8 Intercontinental. It ordered 20 planes. He noted the freighter version of the 747-8 has been selling well. Through last month, Boeing had 63 orders.

The airline industry is taking more time before ordering the biggest passenger planes from Boeing or Airbus, Mayrhuber said. "There will be a breakthrough and more customers will come," he said of the 747-8 Intercontinental.

Aerospace Notebook is a Wednesday feature by P-I aerospace reporter James Wallace. He can be reached at 206-448-8040 or

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