Boeing is already sketching details for their next jumbo jet, the unofficially-called Boeing 7E7 Dreamliner. The 7E7 concept offers some radical new design ideas, such as the sharkfin-like vertical stabilizer and slender nose cone. The interior has high, arched ceilings, big clamshell-esque overhead bins and oversized electro-transparent windows. Even the washroom gets a window.
The main program team has recently been relocated to Boeing’s massive Everett, Washington plant. Everett currently assembles the 747, 767 and 777 in the largest building by volume on earth, although Boeing has not decided on whether final 7E7 assembly will be there as well.
There is some speculation that the final product will be called the 787 or even the 808, to appease the Asian market. While Boeing marketing has always used the 7×7 nomenclature for their jumbo jets, calling the Dreamliner the 808 could give it a boost in Asia sales. To Chinese, the number 8 signifies prosperity and is considered the luckiest number you can possibly get.
When I was at the Everett plant in September, someone asked why all the planes were called 7-something-7. Apparently, it’s simply because the marketers thought it sounded nice. The numbers don’t really mean anything; the 747 carries the most passengers of any of the other jets, although the 777 is longer.