Thanks to Qatar Airways, visitors to the Singapore Airshow have the first opportunity to see Boeing’s 787 alongside its archrival, the Airbus A350XWB.

The Doha-based carrier, which from later this year will operate both models, is the first airline to display a 787-8 at Singapore. With nine 787s already delivered and 51 more on order, Qatar currently flies the Boeing twinjet on routes to Europe and the Middle East, and from March will fly the type to Singapore as the fleet expands.

Boeing, meanwhile, continues to mark rapid progress with flight tests of the 787-9, the first of two stretch derivatives in development. The first 787-9, a Rolls-Royce Trent 1000-powered aircraft dubbed ZB001, is currently at Edwards AFB, where it is conducting takeoff performance tests on the California base’s 15,000-ft-long main runway. The evaluation is part of certification tests that began in December following the award of type inspection authorization (TIA) approval from the FAA.

A second 787-9, ZB002, is being used to test the autoland system, while ZB021, a General Electric GEnx-1B-powered aircraft that joined the flight test program in November, is in Roswell, New Mexico, performing rejected-takeoff work on a wet runway. In all, five aircraft are scheduled to be involved in the program. The fourth and fifth 787-9s will be production aircraft with full interiors with ZB197, an aircraft destined ultimately for All Nippon Airways, scheduled to be the first of the pair to join the campaign. A Rolls-powered aircraft, ZB197 will be used principally for ETOPS and function and reliability tests as well as electromagnetic effects (EME), which will check protection against lightning strikes.