But airframer would prefer to wait for more powerful engines to achieve better range

Boeing acknowledges that pressure from potential launch customers for its proposed 787-10 stretch could force it to make a launch decision this year – much earlier than it would have liked.
“We’d always thought we’d do a -10, but the idea was that it would be way out in the future when we’d be able to offer the same 8,000nm [14,800km]-plus range as the other 787 variants when more powerful engines are available,” says Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice-president marketing Randy Baseler.
He says the stretch is fairly loosely defined, but as now proposed it would have “a little more than 300 seats”, would adopt the highest maximum take-off weight currently planned for the existing models [245t/540,000lb), and enter service in “2012 or beyond”.
Baseler says the near-term lack of more powerful engines beyond the 75,000lb-thrust (335kN) maximum now offered by 787 and Airbus A350 powerplant suppliers General Electric and Rolls-Royce is one of the key constraints to achieving the desired range performance.
“The manufacturers tell us they cannot give us more thrust with the engines in their current configurations. And using the existing engines, the -10’s range would be around 7,300nm,” Baseler says.
He adds that Boeing has talked to “a few airlines” about the less-capable -10 and some have said that “they can work with this range...but we have to ask ourselves whether this is a marketable aircraft in the longer term”.
Although Baseler plays down the likelihood of an imminent launch for the -10, he does not rule out a decision this year. Acknowledging that the 787-10 would dilute sales of the similarly sized 777-200ER, he says that the alternative is “having the other guy do it to you”.
With the smallest 777-200ER facing direct competition from the A350-900, Baseler confirms that talks have been held with airlines about an improved -200ER.


Source: Flight International