Seattle Boeing Co. has not yet decided whether to stick with tradition and assign a 700-series number to its 7E7 Dreamliner aircraft, a spokeswoman for the 7E7 program said Wednesday.
"Whether we keep the 'E' or choose a number is still being discussed," said Yvonne Leach. "There are those who want to stick with the 'E' and those who want to go with a number."
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer quoted company sources as saying the twinjet, scheduled to go into service in 2008, will be designated the 787. The report in Wednesday editions says the announcement is being delayed because Alan Mulally, president of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, wants to make the announcement when an expected order for 60 Dreamliners comes in from Chinese airlines.
The number eight is considered good luck in China, partly because in both the Mandarin and Cantonese dialects the number is pronounced much the same as the word to make money. License plates and telephone numbers ending in eight are in demand in China, weddings are planned around dates that include the number and the Olympic Games in Beijing are set to begin at 8 p.m. local time on Aug. 8, 2008 -- or 8-8-08.
For the time being the plane remains the 7E7, with the E standing for efficiency.
Boeing's tradition of three-digit model numbers that start and end with a 7 goes back to the company's first commercial jet, the 707, initially designated the Model 367-80 or Dash 80, in 1954.