Boeing [NYSE:BA] today officially launched the Boeing 777 Freighter, the world's largest and most capable twin-engine freighter, following the completion of a launch order from Air France.
Air France ordered five 777 Freighters, with options for three additional airplanes, to replace its 747-200F fleet. The first 777 Freighter is scheduled for delivery to Air France in the fourth quarter of 2008.
"The acquisition of the Boeing 777F will enable us to take advantage of the 'family effects' and technical uniformity found in the 777-200ER and the -300ER fleet which has already proved its capacity for on-time performance and fuel-saving," said Jean-Cyril Spinetta, chairman and chief executive officer of Air France. "This aircraft will considerably increase flown tonne revenues and will therefore heighten the profitability of our cargo division."
Air Canada also announced in April the inclusion of the 777 Freighter as part of its selection of 777s and 787s to renew its long-haul fleet. Upon completion of that agreement, Air Canada will join the 777 Freighter launch team.
"The world wants the 777 Freighter and we're going to build it," said Alan Mulally, president and chief executive officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "Air cargo is the fastest-growing segment of commercial aviation and a critical enabler in our global economy. The 777 Freighter will deliver tremendous value to owners and operators, and we are delighted to have Air France and Air Canada leading our launch team."
Launch of the new freighter brings Boeing's 777 family to six models. Working with cargo operators worldwide, Boeing selected the 777-200LR Worldliner as the platform for the 777 Freighter because it offers the range and payload capability operators want. The first 777-200LR Worldliner will enter passenger service in January 2006.
The 777 Freighter will be capable of flying 4,965 nautical miles (9,195 kilometers) with a full payload and market-preferred cargo load density, making it the world's longest-range freighter. With the lowest trip cost of any large freighter and excellent ton-mile economics, the 777 Freighter will build on the 777 family's demonstrated success in delivering lower fuel consumption, maintenance costs, and operating costs than other airplanes in its class.
The new airplane will feature capacity never seen before on a twin-engine freighter. With a maximum takeoff weight of 766,000 pounds (347,450 kilograms), the 777 Freighter will have a revenue payload capability of 229,000 pounds (103 metric tons).
The 777 Freighter will be powered exclusively by the world's most powerful commercial jet engine, General Electric's GE90-110B1L. The 777 Freighter will meet QC2 noise standards for maximum accessibility to noise-sensitive airports.
The 777 Freighter complements the Boeing 747-400 Freighter family, which is the air-cargo industry's standard. Both the 777 and 747 Freighters accommodate 10-foot-high (3.1 meter) pallets, providing operators with maximum flexibility.
The Boeing 747 Freighter family currently constitutes more than half of the world's total freighter capacity. Boeing freighters of all models comprise more than 90 percent of the total worldwide freighter lift. Boeing forecasts that large widebody freighters (65 metric tons and above in capacity) will comprise 31 percent of the market by 2023.