Boeing Commercial Airplanes has begun to study the possibility of fitting the 777 with a redesigned wing in an effort to more effectively compete against the Airbus A350XWB-1000. Although BCA chief executive Scott Carson said at this month’s Paris Air Show that “nothing is decided,” a re-winged 777 could offer an alternative to the still un-launched 787-10, the so-called double stretch of the baseline 787-8.
Executives from arch-rival Airbus almost immediately reacted to the revelations with expressions of self-satisfaction. “I think this is further confirmation of what we have in the A350XWB,” said Airbus COO for customers John Leahy. “They clearly see a need to do something.”
Whether or not that something involves radical improvements to the 777 might hinge on talks the company continues to hold with potential customers about the 787-10. Either way, the 777 will see changes, said Carson.
“Are we done [with the 777]?” Carson asked rhetorically. “Absolutely not…But it will require the right focus and a close cooperation with our customers…Competition will remain intense, and that’s good.”
Although he said the 787 understandably has drawn most of the aerospace world’s attention, Carson talked about product development across Boeing’s line as one of the company’s hallmarks for decades. He cited as examples the 777 Freighter as “a significant step forward” for cargo customers, and a 600 nm increase in range for the 777-300ER since its introduction in 2004.