The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] hailed today's United Airlines' launch of Boeing 777-200ER (extended range) flights between Auckland and Los Angeles -- the first such South Pacific service.
The airline plans to replicate the 777's success on other long-haul world routes, offering passengers daily, non-stop service.
The three-class 275-seat airplane replaces a Boeing 747 previously used to link Los Angeles, Auckland and Melbourne, Australia.
"Now that United serves Melbourne via Sydney, the 777 is the perfect aircraft for the Auckland-Los Angeles route," said Michael Purchon, United Airlines general manager -- New Zealand.
"We believe our customers will be thrilled with the onboard experience the 777 will offer, including 19 channels of audio and 9 channels of video entertainment with personal video monitors at every seat on the aircraft."
A 777 launch customer, United Airlines is now the world's largest operator of the type, with a fleet of 60 Boeing 777s, including the 16 777-200ERs to be used on the Auckland route.
The Boeing 777-200ER is one of the longest-range and most technologically advanced aircraft in service today. It is designed to handle routes such as the 10,500 kilometer (5,670 nautical mile) sector from New Zealand to California with ease. The 777-200ER has a range of 14,316 kilometers (7,730 nautical miles).
From entry into service, the varying models of the 777 have been ETOPS- (Extended Range Twin Engine Operations) compliant, offering unprecedented levels of reliability.
"We designed and built the 777 for exactly this type of point-to-point route, and it's great to see United Airlines inaugurate the service," said Ray Conner, vice president and general manager of the 777 program for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
"The 777 has proved its worth on many other key air routes and we're confident it will deliver new levels of passenger appeal on the South Pacific," he said.
For improved, more efficient in-flight service, the 777 is equipped with an advanced cabin management system. Linked to a computerized control console, the cabin management system assists cabin crews with many tasks and allows airlines to provide new services for passengers, including a digital sound system comparable to the most state-of-the-art home stereo or disc players.
A 1992 Industrial Design Excellence Award was awarded to the passenger cabin of the Boeing 777 jetliner, the first time the Industrial Designers Society of America honored an aircraft interior.
A survey of thousands of passengers flying long-range routes around the world in first, business and economy classes revealed an overwhelming preference for the 777. The worldwide survey, conducted in 1999 and 2000, found that more than three out of four passengers worldwide who had flown aboard both the 777 and competing airliners preferred the Boeing 777.
The airlines also have made the 777 is well proven as their aircraft of choice in its class. In fact, the 777 has operating economics unmatched by the competition. The 777 is the best-selling aircraft in its class with 600 on order, and more than 400 in service around the world.