Could Boeing Build A 787X?

Recently, an interesting discussion started on the Simple Flying YouTube channel that Boeing could build the 787X to fill in the market gap left by the canceled Boeing 797. What would this aircraft look like and how would it work? Let’s explore!

Could the Boeing 787 be recreated for the medium-haul market?. Photo: Getty

What is the Boeing 787X?

Boeing is between a rock and a hard place. Its 737 MAX aircraft is still grounded and the new CEO recently canceled the plans for the Boeing 797. But its customers, many of the world’s best airlines, are still looking for a medium-haul aircraft to fill the gap being left by the Boeing 757 and 767.

Enter the concept for the Boeing 787X.

Essentially, the 787X would be a Boeing 787-8 shortened by around 20 feet. The aircraft would have a similar length to the Boeing 757-200 and 767-200 and would seat around 200-250 passengers in a two-class configuration.

As we have seen with the comparison of the Boeing 787-8 vs the A321XLR, the 787X would have the comfort of a widebody and carry slightly more passengers than Airbus’ attempt.

The aircraft would also have an incredible range, in the region of 5,000 nautical miles. This would be about a 40% reduction in range compared to the 787-8, but savings made on engineering would help make the 787X more viable against the Airbus A321XLR interloper.

Additionally, the Boeing 787X could incorporate advancements made with the Boeing 777X (hence the name), such as bigger and better engines and folding wingtips. This would give the aircraft unmatched economics.

777X FLight Test
The 777X could lend its wings to this new aircraft Photo: Simple Flying

Why should Boeing build the 787X?

This idea sounds fantastic (and we love talking about maybe future aircraft here at Simple Flying), however, what is the actual business case for the plane?

For one, Boeing has already got two production lines making the Boeing 787 (Washington State and South Carolina). They would not need to make a new facility or engineer new production methods for this new aircraft (as they planned to do with the Boeing 797). It would be the same engineers and technology to put together the new model and would require very little cost to do so.

Additionally, Boeing could bring the aircraft to the market quickly. It could have a prototype flying in the next 4-5 years and in service throughout the world beyond that.

The iconic 777X wingtips. Photo: Simple Flying

Lastly, there is a huge market for this aircraft. With Asian countries (like China) expecting to drive the bulk of airline sales in the next 20 years, the 787X would be perfect for inter-city routes in China and across the region as a whole. Unlike the Airbus A321 series, the 787 would be a fantastic cargo mover as well, and really be attractive to cargo airlines in the region as they can carry far more per flight.

This topic was inspired by discussions on the Simple Flying YouTube channel. If you haven’t already checked it out, we upload weekly videos about aviation news.

What do you think? Could the Boeing 787 be built? Let us know in the comments.