The Federal Aviation Administration has granted Newark Liberty International Airport a waiver so it can receive Boeing 747-8 flights.
The new Boeing is 13 feet wider and 18 feet longer than its previous version, the 747-400, and can carry up to 581 passengers. The 747-8 is part of a new size category called Airplane Design Group VI. Airports are supposed to have 200-foot-wide runways to handle these types of planes, as well as 324 feet between the centerline of one taxiway and the centerline of another, and 100-foot-wide taxiways. As a result, the FAA has imposed conditions for Newark Liberty International Airport, because its runways and taxiways don’t meet the width requirements for those planes. The 747-8 can’t taxi faster than 20 mph and is required to stay off certain taxiways on the north and south ends of the airport.
The FAA has also warned the airport to be on the lookout for any problems caused by the 747-8’s jet blast as it moves around other planes, vehicles and workers. Boeing currently delivers freighter versions of the 747-8 and Lufthansa will fly the first passenger version in early 2012. In addition to Newark, the FAA has issued waivers to 19 other airports, including John F. Kennedy International Airport.