Boeing appears more entrenched in reaching a decision on offering a 787-10 as company management stresses the airframer is studying the potential variant over the next year.
Company CEO Jim McNerney outlined that timeframe during a 2 June presentation at the Sanford C. Bernstein strategic decisions conference.
"The confidence we have in the -9 now, really the weight we got out and the structural modifications largely get us to the point where you could do a -10 relatively easily," said McNerney.
Noting that Boeing is getting "a lot of push" from customers for a 787-10, McNerney stated: "We want to confirm with them that this is as great an airplane as we think it is going to be."
Boeing's CEO explained the 787-10 would offer substantial increases in capacity, "but will suffer a range penalty as a result". However, he stressed it would still offer "far longer range than the alternative out there".
While McNerney stated Boeing has not publicly disclosed a 787-10 range target, he explained the aircraft's range would be "a lot better" than the 767 and Airbus A330, "and not as good as the long-range 777s".
"We're sorting through it technically, which is why I'm being coy," McNerney stated.
Pressed about the -10 having a range above 11,100km (6,000nm), Boeing's CEO stated: "It is looking that way."
The 787-9 and a potential 787-10 represent one way to increase the profitability of the 787 programme over time, said McNerney. Similar to other aircraft programmes the -9 and the contemplation of another variant represent a chance for pricing changes, he explained. "We're already beginning to see a mix up from the -8 to -9 for certain customers," said McNerney. "The -10 is an opportunity to go beyond that."