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Boeing said Monday that U.S. and European regulators have approved its newest and larger version of the 787 Dreamliner passenger jet for commercial flying.

The company says that the first Boeing 787-9 is undergoing final preparation before being delivered to Air New Zealand.

The new plane is 20 feet longer and able to carry more passengers than the original 787-8. Boeing says the Dreamliner jets use 20 percent less fuel and produce 20 percent less emissions than other planes of the same size. Boeing reduces weight and fuel burn by using composite materials for about half of the plane.

Boeing says 26 customers around the world have ordered 413 787-9 jets.

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The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency certified the 787-9 for commercial service. Boeing said the certification process involved ground and laboratory tests on five planes and more than 1,500 hours of flight testing.

The 787-9 is certified to fly up to 330 minutes (5.5 hours) from the nearest airport. The original 787-8, following problems with overheating batteries last year, received approval to fly that far from an airport only at the end of May.

The 787-8 Dreamliners were grounded worldwide last year after two battery incidents. The planes were allowed to fly again after regulators approved a fix by Boeing that included encasing the battery cells in steel to contain any fires.

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