EVERETT, Wash., July 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Boeing [NYSE: BA] celebrated the first 787-9 Dreamliner delivery today with launch customer Air New Zealand. About 1,000 Boeing employees representing the 787 program joined Air New Zealand executives and guests at a unique celebration of this milestone event. "We are proud to be the launch customer for the 787-9," said Air New Zealand Chief Financial Officer Rob McDonald. "We believe it will be a game-changer for Air New Zealand, with increased levels of fuel efficiency and passenger comfort. We look forward to inviting our customers on board to experience the aircraft and all of its benefits for themselves." Air New Zealand's Rolls-Royce powered 787-9 is part of the airline's fleet modernization effort. This 787-9, painted in a unique black livery, is the first of 10 Dreamliners to join Air New Zealand's fleet. The airline said the airplane will operate the Auckland–Perth route in October 2014 and to both Tokyo and Shanghai in November 2014. "This delivery is a tribute to the hard work and dedication of our employees, suppliers and Air New Zealand," said John Wojick, senior vice president of Global Sales and Marketing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "Air New Zealand was a perfect partner for us in developing the 787-9, given its innovative spirit, unique mission requirements and geography. The 787-9, combined with Air New Zealand's exceptional onboard service, will set them apart from the competition by providing an unrivaled flying experience." The 787-9 complements and extends the 787 family. With the fuselage stretched by 20 feet (6 meters) over the 787-8, the 787-9 will fly up to 40 more passengers an additional 450 nautical miles (830 km) with the same exceptional environmental performance — 20 percent less fuel use and 20 percent fewer emissions than similarly sized airplanes.