The Boeing [NYSE:BA]
777-300ER (Extended Range) passenger airplane's excellent performance during flight testing has led the company to decide to offer the airplane with higher range and payload capabilities than originally planned.
Such enhanced capability for the newest 777 family member would be available for newly-delivered airplanes and as a retrofit option starting in the fourth quarter of 2004. The enhanced airplane's maximum takeoff weight would be 775,000 pounds, or 351,534 kilograms, up from 759,600 pounds, or 344,549 kilograms. Its design range would be 7,705 nautical miles compared to 7,525 nautical miles.
"The airplane's performance during flight testing has been nothing short of outstanding," said Lars Andersen, program manager for Boeing 777 Longer Range airplane programs. "This new capability will add value to the 777-300ER and for our customers."
During flight testing the airplane's raked wing tips, a new feature on the 777-300ER, has produced 1.5 percent better fuel consumption than expected. Takeoff field length improved by 1,000 feet (305 meters), because of two other new features -- semi-levered landing gear and the tail strike protection (TSP) system, as well as brake performance.
The TSP system also reduced approach speeds by two to three knots. Community noise levels are below requirements and QC2 compliant for departure.
Two 777-300ER airplanes have been in flight testing this year. The first 777-300ER will be delivered in April 2004 to International Finance Lease Corporation and its customer, Air France.
Offering airlines additional flexibility in serving the non-stop routes that passengers demand, the 777-300ER has accumulated 63 orders from eight customers worldwide.