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PARIS AIR SHOW: Boeing mulls long-haul options

Boeing is studying two new derivatives of its long-haul products and a clean sheet design to create a competing product against the Airbus A350 XWB.

Speaking at show media briefing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief executive Scott Carson said that the double stretch 787-10, a rewinged 777 or an all-new design are "potentially competing alternatives" to meet future customer needs.

The 787-10 would fill the spot currently occupied by the 777-200ER seating 305 passengers, while touting a comparable or longer range than the current offering of 13,890km (7,500nm).

Boeing is also exploring upgrades to its existing 777 with new cockpit technologies and fresh wing design for the large twinjet.

"We look at studies of all nature," said Carson. "Some studies could even include such things in the future as potentially rewinging the airplane. And while no commitments have been made, each study has become a vital part of how we extend the utility and increase the value of [the 777]."

"Both the -10 and a rewinged, upgraded, improved 777 can offer great utility for customers. The trick is to find the one that addresses the needs most broadly so we can have broad-based market success," said Carson.

He added that the 787-10 and 777 rewing are "not necessarily linked today", but adds that Boeing is working with customers to identify their requirements,find a product that will best address them and then exploring the feasibility of such a venture.

Carson also said that a third option, a clean sheet design, is being considered as well if the 777 rewing and 787-10 are deemed to be lacking.

Carson declined to specify either a proposed cost for a rewinged 777 or a timeline to achieve such a goal, although he indicated that the development and definition of Airbus's A350 XWB would be a key factor in the decision-making.

"Certainly we pay attention to the capability of that airplane, and not only the capability which will be demonstrated as the airplane goes into flight-test and the way the airplane is being marketed because that creates marketing expectations and allows people to think outside the box about what the world will look like in the future," says Carson.

Airbus plans to have the A350-900, which competes directly with the 777-200ER, flying by 2012, with an entry into service the following year.

Carson also declined to say whether, if the green light is given to the 787-10, it would be the second or third 787 derivative after the stretched -9 or the short range -3.

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