Boeing details 787IGW performance improvements

Boeing is starting to open up about the long-discussed 787IGW. The IGW stands for increased gross weight, a variant first reported by TAC back in 2019 when it was being floated for sales campaigns at Qantas and Air New Zealand. Boeing formally acknowledged the IGW’s existence in January 2022.

The improvements spread across both the 787-9 and 787-10 will add 4.6 and 6.4 metric tons of additional payload capacity, respectively, said Boeing vice president of marketing, Darren Hulst. While the IGW does not add any additional fuel capacity to the 787, the modifications will enable 310 and 430 nautical miles (on top of 7,565nm and 6,330nm) of additional endurance with its added carrying capability for the -9 and -10, respectively. The maximum take-off weight of the 787-10 is expected to increase by 12,000 lbs to 572,000 lbs, which United Airlines said will enable Chicago O-Hare to Tokyo Narita flying non-stop year-round.

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When exactly those increased gross weight 787s will arrive is uncertain. The development work is largely complete and would be on the final assembly line “soon.” Boeing is going through early production preparations in its sub-assembly “backshops”, said Boeing South Carolina vice president and general manager Lane Ballard on May 30. “It only impacts certain sections, like gauging the landing gear and stuff like that. It’s not an all up change.”

The timing of regulatory approval of those changes, on the other hand, is anyone’s guess. Boeing senior vice president Mike Fleming, said given the arduous task the company has faced adapting to the new certification requirements for the 737 Max 7, 10 and 777X that have come with the Aircraft Certification, Safety and, Accountability Act that was passed in the wake of the 737 Max crashes make the exactly availability date unclear.

The increased gross weight airplane is mostly taking advantage of the strength and the capability that we have in the airplane itself. Not a tremendous amount of change on that airplane either. And so I don’t think it’s going to drive anywhere near the requirements that we’ve had. Most of that documentation associated with the IGW is done.

There’s other factors which are driving at it, which are determining when that airplane is going to come into service. But they’re never done until you’re done. And so, you know, unfortunately, is as we talk with our customers, as we talk with everybody else…you’re done when you’re done. Sounds simple, but it’s true.”

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