Boeing has changed the specifications of its upcoming 777-8, part of the 777X, as noted by Max Kingsley Jones, a Senior Consultant at Cirium.
The 777X series has made headlines recently thanks to persistent certification delays. The 777-9 is expected to be the first to enter service in 2025, with the 777-8 and 777-8F, the newly announced freighter variant to follow.
However, as part of the refinement to the program, it has been noted that specification changes, as published on the Boeing website, mean the 777-8 has undergone a 3ft 6in or 1.1-metre frame stretch. This has seen it move from 229ft or 69.8 metres to 232ft 5in or 70.9 metres.
While the changes to the 777-8 may seem minimal, they’re a noticeable step in closing the gap between it and the 777-8F, the dedicated freighter that was recently announced and has enjoyed much success.
Previously before the 777-8 adjustments, the freighter variant, per only specifications, had a longer fuselage. While only minimal, it would very quickly cause some potential issues internally regarding production, certification and such according to some analysts. The realignment of the 777-8 to seamlessly work with the 777-8F is a necessary step, Boeing believes.
Is such a change a shock? Not necessarily by any means. Why? Well, discussions around the possibility of the 777-8s specifications were never all that final. Following the 777-8F launch, there were murmurs Boeing may look to close the gap between the passenger and freighter variants. Now having been subtly revealed it’s believed to be a logical step, as told by many.
What does such a change mean? An additional 11 seats will be added to the 777-8, with capacity now reaching 395 passengers, up from the previously 384 typical capacity outlined. Capacities should only be used to indicate the plane’s capabilities. Factors such as configurations for respective customers will play a role in the final total with each airline.
On a very minor level, there has also been an increase in the total range. A 15-nautical mile or 20-kilometre increase is reflected on the company website too.
Even with changes to the 777-8, Boeing continues to struggle to sell the aircraft to customers. Per Cirium data, the 777X has orders closing in on 400. However, of the 383 total commitments, the 777-8 passenger variant only exceeds 20 orders and options. The 777-8F has been a success thus far, and while the program is in its early stages, considering it is yet to fly with passengers, Boeing still has struggled to sell its smallest variant.
However, selling the smallest variant of a series has been an ongoing theme of late, especially looking at Airbus and their A330neo, which has encountered sizeable struggles when the smallest -800 is pitched.