Would Allow Longer-Wingspan Airplane To Operate At The Same Airports As Current 777s
How do you make an airplane with a longer wingspan acceptable to airports for which it is currently approved? One answer might be to make the airplane with folding wingtips, which is reportedly what Boeing is considering for its updated version of the 777.
The new model, currently called the 777X, would have an increased wingspan in a effort to boost fuel efficiency. By allowing those wingtips to fold, the aircraft would be able to operate at airports currently served by the triple-7.
The Wichita Business Journal reports that Boeing is holding to a schedule that would see the first deliveries of the new model in 2020. The largest customer for the triple-7, Emirates, says it expects the program to be officially launched this year, perhaps in six to nine months.
Reuters reports that Boeing's president of marketing for commercial airplanes Randy Tinseth said at a recent aerospace conference in Seattle that the 777X is on schedule, but would not confirm the inclusion of the folding wingtips. Tinseth said that the company's prime focus right now is on getting the Dreamliner back into service. It was not clear how issues with the 787 might affect the 777X program, or whether airlines would embrace the level of complexity that the folding wingtip feature might bring to the new airliner.