FAA OKs B-747-8 Ops on 150-Foot Wide Runways

Yesterday the FAA issued approval for the B-747-8 to operate on 150-foot wide runways.  A copy of the approval letter from the FAA is available here.  This FAA action, which has been long sought by Boeing, the launch customers of the B-747-8, and the U.S. airports they plan to serve, removes a significant hurdle in the way of gaining operating approvals for B-747-8 operations at many U.S. airports.  

As background, the B-747-8 is the newest and largest model in Boeing's B-747 series of aircraft.  The aircraft has a wingspan that is approximately 10 feet wider than that of a B-747-400, making the B-747-8 an Airplane Design Group (ADG) VI aircraft similar to the Airbus A380.  Under existing FAA airport design standards, runways serving such ADG VI aircraft must be 200 feet wide.  The FAA's action means that expensive runway widening projects will not be required to serve this new aircraft.

A number of U.S. airports are in the process of obtaining approvals for other modifications of design standards that are needed before they can serve the aircraft.  In a conference call earlier this week with Boeing and the FAA, ACI-NA learned that with few exceptions, U.S. airports will be ready for the aircraft when they enters service.

The first of these aircraft--freighter variants--are due to enter service in September.  A passenger variant is expected to enter service with Lufthansa in early 2012.

Please contact Chris Oswald (coswald@aci-na.org) if you have any questions.