Re: A340-500/600 vs. B777-200X/B747-200X etc.

Date:         23 Nov 97 03:04:04 
From:         kls@ohare.Chicago.COM (Karl Swartz)
Organization: Chicago Software Works, Menlo Park, California
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>> I can't imagine it
>> coming up for consideration at Boeing unless Boeing needs to increase
>> 777 production beyond the seven/month that the existing building can
>> handle.

>1) Boeing produces all its wide-body aircraft in one single building.

True, but it's one building with seven or so separate bays.  The 777
line occupies just one bay, with some spillover into an adjacent one
(the easternmost bay) which is otherwise pretty much empty.

>2) The 777 production area is not that large, as compared to the rest of
>the building.
>If Boeing wanted to produce a 10m stretch of the 777-300, I think that
>they could do it in the same building as where they produce the 777-300.

Just because the rest of the building isn't used by the 777 line
doesn't mean the place is empty.  Other bays are used for the 767
and 747 production lines and other projects.

Also, it's not one giant building, so an aircraft must fit within
a bay even though the overall building is much larger.  While the
bays are big, they aren't *that* big.  The last three positions
(including the one in the bay adjacent to most of the 777 line),
after the final body join, are "slant" positions which have the
aircraft on a 45 degree angle, with the nose pointing southeast.
Even the 777-200 covers a sizable portion of the width of the bay.
It's not clear that something significantly bigger than the 777-300
would fit, which is probably why Boeing says it wouldn't.

Converting the slant positions to straight-in configuration, moving
one position to the largely unused bay, might be doable, but there
is also the final body join and the stations preceding that where
fuselage sections are outfitted.  Reworking all of those might mean
a major disruption to 777 production.

Setting up an entirely new line for a new, longer version, would be
quite expensive, plus there simply doesn't appear to be available
space.  The story could change if, say, the adjacent 767 line is
moved to Long Beach, as has been mentioned as a possibility.

Karl Swartz	|Home
Moderator of sci.aeronautics.airliners -- Unix/network work pays the bills