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Boeing reveals 777-9X dimensions in airport brief

Boeing has revealed a preliminary set of external dimensions for the 777-9X aircraft as part of its campaign to prepare airports far in advance of a scheduled entry into service in 2020.

A presentation delivered to the Airports Council International (ACI) annual symposium last September gives the length of the 777-9X fuselage as 76.7m (251ft 9in), or about 0.2m longer than previously reported and 2.8m longer than the 777-300ER.

The same slide, delivered by Boeing lead engineer for airport compatibility Karen Dix-Colony, also lists the estimated tail height of the 777-9X as 19.7m.

The closely-guarded dimensions were revealed at the ACI event as Boeing officials lobby airports and international regulators to prepare for increasingly longer and wider commercial aircraft.

The Airbus A380 still holds the record for longest aircraft wingspan at 80m, but the fully extended wingspan of the 777-9X will come second at 71.8m. That would make the A380 and 777-9X among the very large aircraft only allowed to operate from Code F-standard airports.

Boeing, however, is introducing a folding wingtip on the 777-9X that reduces the wingspan on taxiways and at gates to 64.8m. At that length, the 777-9X will qualify for taxiways and gates with clearances designed for narrower, Code E aircraft.

But that change will not address all of the regulatory issues. On take-off roll, the 777-9X wingspan will be fully extended to ICAO airport classification Code F dimensions. ICAO requires that Code F runways be at least 60ft wide, versus only 45ft wide for Code E aircraft. For Boeing to introduce the 777-9X to airports with only Code E-compatible runway widths, the 777-9X will require an exemption. Boeing notes that ICAO approved a similar exemption request to allow the 747-8 to operate on Code E-rated runways.

Boeing officials are in the midst of a worldwide airport marketing campaign, visiting 30 airports alone in 2014. The company plans to visit not only airports where the 777-9X is likely to serve. The aircraft also needs compatible airports at alternate sites to qualify for extended operations (ETOPS) routes, Boeing says.

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