The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given approval for the Boeing 747-8 to operate at three US airports under certain conditions, after it allowed for modifications to certain standards requested by the airports.
The three airports are Washington Dulles, Houston and Huntsville, Alabama.
Washington Dulles had requested for the modification of six standards in order to allow for the 747-8 to operate there. It asked for permission for the 747-8 to operate on the existing Airplane Design Group (ADG) V 150 ft wide runways with no modifications, even though the 747-8 is an ADG VI aircraft by definition.
In its justification, the airport said the aircraft "closely resembles the 747-400 (an ADG V aircraft) in many ways". "The wingspan, the historical determinant of an aircraft's design group, is only eleven feet wider than the 747-400," it added.
The FAA said it has no objection for the 747-8 to operate on the runway "provided the runway has at least a 35 ft shoulder that can support the occasional passage of a 747-8".
Houston airport requested for a modification of standard to allow 747-8 aircraft to operate for the purpose of gate access only into gates D11 and D12, with clearances defined for ADG V aircraft.
In its application, it said five airlines have expressed interest in operating the 747-8 or A380 to Houston: British Airways, Lufthansa, Atlas Air, Cargolux and Cathay Pacific Airways.
Huntsville airport requested for a modification of standard to allow the 747-8 to operate there on its existing 150 ft runways and 25 ft wide shoulders due to the 747-8's resemblance to the 747-400.
It added that as part of a three phase project that will take three to five years, it is increasing the runway shoulder width to ADG VI standards.