The Great Air Plane (aka GAP) may be called the 797 and it will be incomparably unique. The gap is an airplane space void of any typical tubes flying east and west. Boeing is taking its time before announcing its gap filler aircraft. The A-321 NEO flies around the GAP edge in an endless circle leaving the 737 single aisle segment stumped. There is a 5,000 unit GAP capacity for no known or existing airplane.
The Boeing company is taking its time for announcing a new class of aircraft. Probably because it took too long for a buying customers waiting for its 787 program. Ten years is a long time for holding airplane expectation after an announcement. Boeing is muting customer expectation when waiting by and already going forward with a mid body in secret steps.
Announcing too early will drive customer nuts during a long wait. The wait has already started before announcing the aircraft but its development is on-going getting ahead of any impatient waiting like the 787 experienced.
A second point under consideration is that its chief competitor does not know how to counter something not yet publicly announced to all commercial aviation customers. The secret sauce: Boeing is waiting for milestones to be reached before announcing. The guarantee must be five year entry into service from date of market announcement. Additionally, the design deviates from the norm and all development stoppers are mitigated away from critical eyes. No bad press please. Boeing has its work cut out for making a timeline from its initial announcement to a five year entry into service deadline.
Boeing is also moving developmental operations in the vicinity of area 51 or somewhere near Burbank California for assembly. The Dream-lifter can and will move parts towards a quaint building near jack rabbits and sage brush. Every part of the mystery aircraft can be airlifted into an engineering/assembly area not found near Seattle, Wa. When the prototype flies comes an announcement to an Airshow near Paris. The newly created front office for the 797 can handle mail forwarding and phone calls coming into some Boeing rented space near the "Needle". The office answering machine answers every phone call with a " Welcome to the 797 program, please leave a message and we will return your call at the nearest time available" beeeep message sequence.
The Seattle Times has assigned an aviation columnist to the project and offers sage opinions on a weekly basis. Winging It regurgitates any opinion as its standard issue.
If a 797 is needed by a customer, call Boeing's marketing arm, they are taking names and kicking tail.
The whole idea is to choreograph an announcement where Boeing can deliver a unique aircraft in ubiquitous quantities before the competition can even read the blue print on such an aircraft. A five year window is needed for this operation using a ten year development run-up for the 797. The year 2019-2020 should allow time for a prototype and an announcement year in Paris. Boeing has learned it needs to jump the competition for any forward leaning ideas.