Boeing in the fourth quarter expects to begin major assembly work on the first 787-9 and complete most of the detailed design of the aircraft before year end as it moves to achieve first flight in mid-2013.

The company has just released the first 25% of the detailed engineering drawings for the -9, which is due to enter service with Air New Zealand in early 2014, says Mark Jenks, VP for 787-9 development. From here, there will be “a fairly quick ramp-up” in releasing further detailed design drawings, with the goal to essentially complete the work in the fourth quarter. The -9 is designed to seat 40 more passengers than the 787-8.

Boeing late last year began building components for the first-flight -9, with work on major assemblies such as the center wingbox expected to begin in the fourth quarter and to finish in the first quarter of 2013 to meet the scheduling goal for its initial flight.

As Boeing starts building the -9, it is trying to apply lessons from the -8 program, in particular to limit the amount of so called “travel work:” moving sections forward in assembly without all systems installed. “We will be very hard-nosed in terms of what travels,” Jenks said on the eve of the Singapore Airshow, which offically opens Feb. 14.

Jenks also notes that the design work on the hybrid laminar flow technology to be used on the 787-9 is essentially completed, and some parts are already being built.

Full-scale parts and production tools are also in hand for the Boeing-built horizontal stabilizer. The work on the -8 was assigned to Alenia Aeronautica, which now takes a secondary role].

Jenks also reaffirms that Boeing does not expect a large impact from the delamination problems seen on the 787-8 because of a production flaw. Inspections are now taking place to assess what completed aircraft need fixing. He says the fix, where needed, can be made “fairly quickly.”