Boeing unveils long-range 777

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Boeing has unveiled a new ultra-long range version of its 777 airliner, capable of flying from London to Sydney non-stop.

The 777-200LR can fly for 9,420 nautical miles (17,446 kilometers) with 301 passengers onboard, giving it a range greater than any other airliner in the world.

The aircraft can fly from New York to Singapore and from Los Angeles to Dubai with a full passenger and luggage load non-stop, and has been named the Worldliner by Boeing to mark the fact it can connect almost any two cities on Earth.

Although it can fly from London to Sydney non-stop, the 777-200LR will have to break its return journey to refuel due to direction of the prevailing winds in the upper atmosphere.

So far, Boeing has received five orders from two customers for the 777-200LR since it was announced in February 2000. The first of the new airliner will be delivered to Pakistan International Airlines in January 2006. EVA Airways is the other launch customer.

First flight is scheduled in early March.

The 777-200LR will be the basis for an all-freight version of the 777, announced last November.

Boeing's European rival Airbus, which has out-sold Boeing since 2003, believes that the future of passenger flight is in very large aircraft like its new twin-deck A380 airliner flying up to 840 people between a relatively small number of large hub airports world-wide. Passengers would then take connecting flights to reach their final destinations.

Boeing, by contrast, believes passengers will want to fly direct between more local airports too small to handle aircraft like the A380.