Sir - Guy Norris refers to the probable stretching of the Boeing 747 in his article "Boeing heads for 700-seater launch decision next year" (Flight International, 11-17 October, P5).
In the fifth paragraph, he suggests that a span of 79m (260ft) would permit existing 747 gates and stands to be used without a folding wing.
This may apply in the USA, but it does not at BAA's UK airports. A wingspan of 79m would require major modifications to terminal gates, while the longer stretch of 86m would result in extreme difficulties in the majority of stand areas, where it may not be possible to extend without reducing others.
Source: Flight International