The first new jetliner scheduled for airline delivery in the 21st century will make its formal debut today during an employee celebration as the airplane rolls out of the Boeing factory in Everett, Wash. The 767-400ER (extended range) is the newest derivative design in the 767 family of jets.
"What an extraordinary team effort this has been," said Pat Shanahan, program manager for the 767-400ER Program. "When employees, suppliers and customers touch the airplane for the first time today, it will be hard evidence of our success in working together."
Boeing kicked off the program in March 1997 with an announcement by Delta Air Lines for 21 firm orders for the 767-400ER. Delta was one of the first customers for the 767-200 and 767-300. The airline has ordered a total of 116 767s. Delta has the largest fleet of 767s in the world and still has 29 767s on order.
The 767-400ER's major design features were finalized in January 1998, and major assembly began in February 1999. About six months later, employees had assembled the airplane and begun functional tests.
According to Shanahan, teams advanced 767 quality by engineering more efficient tooling, making design improvements to the airplane for easier production and maintenance, and using improved parts with higher reliability.
"The 767s already have proven to be real workhorses for the world's fleets, particularly across the Atlantic Ocean," Shanahan said. "The 767-400ER keeps a strong tie to the 767 family for better operating economics, and at the same time allows airlines to leverage the 777 features we've incorporated into this airplane."
The 767-400ER is sized between the 767-300 and 777-200, seating 245 passengers in a typical three-class configuration and 304 in a typical two-class configuration. It is 21 feet (6.4 m) longer than the baseline 767-300 airframe, adds 14 feet (4.3 m) to the wingspan, and up to 15 percent more seating. Efficient design gives the higher-capacity 767-400ER excellent range capability (approximately 6,500 statute miles or 10,460 km). The 767-400ER can serve all U.S. domestic routes, as well as North Atlantic routes such as Los Angeles-London, Newark-Moscow or Chicago-Warsaw. Other potential routes include New York-Santiago, Chile; Seattle-Osaka; and Atlanta-Honolulu.
The 767-400ER also features an all-new interior fashioned after the award-winning 777 interior and an upgraded flight deck. The new interior preserves the openness and spaciousness of the traditional 767 interior, which has proven so popular with passengers, while providing an updated look and more useable stowage for carry-on baggage. The redesigned 767-400ER flight deck includes many of the improvements developed for the 777 airplane but also maintains cost-saving crew commonality with all current 767s and 757s.
In addition to Delta's order, Continental Airlines and General Electric Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) and International Lease Finance Corp. (ILFC) have ordered the 767-400ER, bringing the total to 54. Three of the airplane's customers will participate in today's rollout ceremony.
The airplane is scheduled to enter a flight-test program this fall. Delivery of the first airplane to Delta is scheduled for May 2000.