Still far from its first flight, the 777-8 aircraft has grown. The smallest version of the widebody of the 777X family gained three feet (1.1 meters) in length in its fuselage, according to data from Boeing.
The information was not disclosed, but journalist Max Kingsley-Jones noticed the difference in the aircraft’s specifications on the planemaker’s website.
According to the new data, the 777-8 went from 229 feet (69.79 meters) to 232 feet (70.86 meters) thanks to a new fuselage section. It should be positioned at the rear of the aircraft, according to Kingsley-Jones.
The increased length not coincidentally makes the 777-8 identical to the 777-8F Freighter. This strategy cuts costs as well as making the widebody more capable than its rival, the Airbus A350.
In addition, the passenger aircraft may in the future be converted to cargo, offering a layout in the main cabin similar to the dedicated freighter.
Latest #777X specification data on https://t.co/0oKnCMVeMh reveals that the 777-8 pax has undergone a 3ft 6in/1.1m stretch (aligning dimensions with the 777-8F). This increases seating by 11 (from 384 to 395 in 2-class). Read more:https://t.co/Qp7MRRPI4M #Avgeeks #Boeing pic.twitter.com/PKcZDvkeZM
— Max Kingsley-Jones (@MaxK_J) August 5, 2023
Thanks to the extra space, the 777-8 will be able to carry 395 passengers in two classes, 11 more than in the original project. Surprisingly, the maximum range even grew: it was 8,730 nautical miles (16,170 km) and is now 8,745 nautical miles (16,190 km).
The greater range suggests that the 777-8 had an increase in Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW), also caused by the larger size of the aircraft.
Looking for customers
The changes to Boeing’s widebody could help the manufacturer attract orders for the 777-8, which currently only has two official customers, Etihad, with eight aircraft, and Emirates Airline, which has 16 jets on order.
However, changes in Boeing’s backlog indicate that Emirates may have replaced the 777-8 with the 777-9, with greater passenger capacity.
Faced with difficulties in obtaining certification for the 777X, Boeing preferred to focus on the 777-9 and then put the 777-8F cargo variant into service, leaving the 777-8 in the fridge. Perhaps now the situation can change.