Boeing Mulls a 787 Freighter as Tougher Air Pollution Rules Loom

Boeing Co. hinted that it’s considering a cargo-hauling version of its 787 Dreamliner to eventually replace 767 freighters, whose engines won’t comply with tougher emissions standards that take effect in 2028.

“That’s a natural place for us to look,” Brian Hermesmeyer, freighter customer leader for Boeing’s commercial airplane division, told reporters Wednesday in a briefing near its plant in Everett, Washington.

The 787 factory in Everett. (Photo/Boeing)

He added that the Arlington, Virginia-based planemaker typically studies the market demand for potential freighter versions of all of its commercial jetliner families as it plots product strategy.

The Dreamliner is the company’s first jet whose airframe is made of barrels spun from carbon-fiber. That creates a technical hurdle for engineers, who would need to figure out how to reinforce the structure to cut out larger doors needed to load and unload cargo.

The company has planned for 767 freighter deliveries through the end of 2027, when the new pollution rules will potentially clip both the 767 and the current 777 freighter model. The mid-size 767 jetliner also serves as the basis for an aerial refueler for the military, the KC-46A.

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