ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:IIRC with a recent US3 order the B788 is getting a lot of the B789 refinements backported into it. So the commonality should be improving hugely. If that then results in further improved range then maybe it will be a serious option.
NZ has been talking about a poss code 3 787-9 which might carry about the same (perhaps) as QF's which might be around 235 seats. This represents a heavier premium focus which may or may not be too much for a long thin route.
If by tweaking the 787-8 Boeing can get a decent range increase then the same 235 pax in a more "traditional" NZ mix could possibly be carried in a smaller, cheaper and lower trip cost frame than the -9. Maybe even some westbound freight. Sure, it will lack the higher number of premium seats of the Code 3 787-9 but it's far from established that NYC would need a strongly premium-heavy aircraft anyway.
If NZ is serious about future ports such as YYZ, GRU etc, then a small subfleet of an enhanced 788 may actually give better payload-range outcomes than the current 789. Would be keen to see some analysis as to what 788 weight increases might be possible (for example by using the 789 wing join) and what that might mean for its ULH capabilities.
All purely hypothetical, I know. But if NZ has requested the specific ability to take 788s amongst their optioned aircraft, you do have to ask "why would they do that?" Given that Boeing has said nothing so far about the tweaks to the -10 which have apparently been made to make that a/c acceptable to NZ, it would not surprise me if there are also moves behind the scenes to improve the 787-8 that NZ may have a close interest in.