Chosen eight-abreast cabin cross-section has greater diameter than rival A330

Boeing has picked an eight-abreast main cabin for the 7E7 as it moves towards the crucial definition of the cross-section, and has outlined new details of its plans to develop mid- and long-range family variants.

The 7E7 cross-section is expected to be around 5.7m (226in) in diameter, which will make it capable of accommodating two LD-3 cargo containers side-by-side, unlike the smaller 767. The 7E7's diameter gives it an advantage of at least 100mm over the rival Airbus A330, enabling the 7E7 to accommodate wider seats, for the same number of seats abreast, and wider aisles, says Boeing. The 5.7m cross-section is around 0.7m greater than the 767 and 0.45m less than the 777. Like the 777, the section will be round, unlike the double-bubble 767 and Boeing narrowbodies.

The company has also simplified its family plan into two main variants and two main range categories. The former 7E7-300/400 designations have now been dropped, the aircraft now being referred to simply as 7E7 and 7E7 Stretch (7E7STR). The baseline long-range 7E7 is aimed at seating 200-220 passengers in a three-class layout and with a range of between 14,430km (7,800nm) and 14,800km. The long-range 7E7STR is configured to seat 240 to 260 passengers, and has a design range of 13,320-13,690km.

Fewer details of the mid-range 7E7 offerings have been revealed, but they are thought to cover a roughly 5,550-6,300km-capable 7E7STR, seating between 320 and 340 passengers in a two-class layout, and a standard 7E7 seating between 280 and 310 passengers in the same layout, and with a range of around 6,480-7,400km.

Boeing says that full details of the mid- and long-range variants are being discussed with the airlines, but the company adds that the development plan calls for as few variations as possible.

The company is expected to issue requests for proposals to potential suppliers by August. System selections are expected by year-end, to coincide with Boeing seeking formal authority to offer around December.

Source: Flight International