© 2017 Elsevier Ltd Airways diseases, especially chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, are common causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. There is an ongoing unmet need for novel and effective therapies. There is an established pathophysiological link and phenotypic similarity between the chronic bronchitis phenotype of COPD and cystic fibrosis (CF). New evidence suggests that CFTR dysfunction may play a role in other common airways diseases such as COPD, non-atopic asthma and non-CF bronchiectasis. Newly approved and investigational drugs that target both mutant and wildtype CFTR channels have provided a new treatment opportunity addressing the mucus defect in pulmonary diseases that share the same pathophysiology with CF.