Boeing's product development group is reassessing the 747-400XQLR's needs and objectives to evaluate what potential performance boosts, primarily in range and payload, could be offered as a result of a switch to the Trent 600 and, possibly, an NGen6 CF6-derivative.

Boeing says it will explore the Trent's growth capability above the 420,000kg (921,000lb) limit, the current -400XQLR proposal's maximum gross weight. But the company adds: "Nobody is floating numbers higher than that, but it will depend on the engine choice. We can't offer something without agreement, so we're having talks with engine makers because we know there is significant interest out there."

The 30-month launch to entry-into-service target remains in place, says Boeing, but "the question is what will we launch? We need to understand if the market wants something different." GE says it is not looking at alternatives because "Boeing hasn't asked us for anything".

Source: Flight International