Boeing Co. is working to trim weight from its 787 Dreamliner and will implement some design changes on the seventh plane built, the company's marketing chief said.
The Dreamliner weighs more than Boeing had promised when it first began marketing the plane, Randy Tinseth said today, declining to give specifics. The Seattle Times reported last month that the 787 might exceed its weight target by a few tons. Extra weight lowers an aircraft's fuel efficiency and range as well as the amount of passengers and cargo it can carry, making it costlier for an airline to operate.
Boeing will make commercial design changes "to get the weight down" on the seventh Dreamliner built, after six test jets, Tinseth said. The Chicago-based company is planning on "improvements to engine and aerodynamics and to find out margins and take out take-off weight," he said.
The 787's first test flight last month was 28 months later than planned after delays related to difficulties with suppliers, parts and the new materials being used. The widebody airliner is the first to be made of plastic composites, intended to reduce weight and therefore fuel consumption.
Tinseth also said today that the company is continuing to improve its best-selling 737 single-aisle jet and will consider new, more fuel-efficient engines. Boeing will decide "towards the end of the decade" whether to develop an entirely new replacement for the aircraft, he said.