EVERETT, Wash.---In front of a crowd of more than 4,000 guests that included employees, suppliers, partners and airline customers, Boeing today unveiled the fourth member of the Boeing 777 family, the 777-300ER (extended range) jetliner.
The 777-300ER is the first of two Longer-Range 777 models to be completed. Both the 777-300ER and a second jetliner, the 777-200LR (longer-range), were launched in February 2000 by Boeing and General Electric Aircraft Engines [NYSE: GE] at the request of customers who asked for an airplane with additional flexibility to serve the non-stop routes that passengers demand.
"This is an exciting time for Boeing and the 777," said Alan Mulally, president and chief executive officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "Our original vision of growing the 777 program into a family of five models that safely and efficiently serve the needs of our customers is becoming a reality.
"The 777 also is the airplane that the flying public asks to fly, with more than one million flights completed since 1995. And with operating economics that are unmatched by the competition, its customer base has grown to include more than 30 airlines," Mulally said.
The Longer-Range 777s are available in two sizes. The 777-300ER carries 365 passengers up to 7,250 nautical miles (13,427 kilometers); and the 777-200LR can carry 301 passengers 8,865 nautical miles (16,417 kilometers).
Both airplanes are powered by the world's most powerful commercial jet engine, the GE90-115B. GEAE is the sole producer of engines for the 777-200LR and 777-300ER airplanes.
At 115,000 pounds of thrust, the GE90-115B incorporates proven technology from GE's successful GE90 family with new, performance-enhancing features such as a three-dimensional aerodynamic (3-D Aero) compressor to deliver improved fuel burn, and wide-chord-swept composite fan blades for greater efficiency.
"We are proud to be a partner in one of the most significant achievements in commercial aviation," said Dave Calhoun, president and CEO of Cincinnati-based GE Aircraft Engines. "The new longer-range 777s will enable airlines to efficiently transport passenger farther and faster than ever before."
The rollout ceremony was held at the Boeing final assembly plant in Everett, Wash., and featured remarks by Mulally, Calhoun and Lars Andersen, Boeing Longer-Range 777 program manager.
The airplane was unveiled in a dramatic ceremony where gigantic banners with the numbers "777" were dropped from the factory ceiling to reveal the airplane. A striking red, white and blue paint scheme incorporates for the first time elements of the Boeing livery on the underbelly of a new airplane.
With first flight now scheduled to occur in the late January to mid-February timeframe, flight-test employees are putting final touches on the systems that will be used to monitor and evaluate the airplane.
The 12 month flight-test program will include up to 1,000 of ground and 1,600 hours of flight testing. Ground tests already have begun.
Touted as the most technologically advanced airplane in the industry, the Boeing 777-300ER will have updated avionic, electrical, flight and environmental control systems.
Also included on the 777-300ER is a test version of the Jeppesen Electronic Flight Bag (EFB). The EFB replaces cumbersome paper manuals and other flight documents with software that is easily accessed through computer displays mounted in the flight deck for faster retrieval and more accurate calculations. It also executes instant performance calculations, enhancing efficiency, and includes a taxi-situational awareness tool to enhance safety.
"The people who designed and built this airplane have done an extraordinary job," Andersen said. "The 777-300ER airplane, as compared to its predecessor the 777-300, was built using 40 percent fewer man-hours. This is a tremendous accomplishment, and I would like to thank everyone who had a role in this achievement."
Chaker Chahrour, general manager of the GE90 engine program at GE Aircraft Engines, said the 777-300ER rollout represents successful completion of a strategy to build a new centerline engine for the Boeing 777 airplane family.
The GE90-115B exemplifies GE's commitment to the Boeing 777 program and its customers around the world," he said.
The first 777-300ER is scheduled to be delivered to International Lease Finance Corp., and to ILFC's customer Air France in April 2004.
The 777 family has captured nearly 70 percent of the market since the airplane's October 1990 launch. More than 30 customers worldwide have ordered more than 600 777s, including 54 Longer-Range 777s ordered by seven customers: Air France, All Nippon Airways, EVA Airways, GE Capital Aviation Services, ILFC, Japan Airlines and Pakistan International Airlines.