The Boeing 777 is a family of long-range wide-body twin-engine jet airliners developed and manufactured by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It is the world’s largest twinjet and has a typical seating capacity for 314 to 451 passengers, with arange of 5,235 to 9,380 nautical miles (9,695 to 17,372 km). Commonly referred to as the “Triple Seven”, its distinguishing features include the largest-diameter turbofan engines of any aircraft, six wheels on each main landing gear, a circularfuselage cross-section, and a blade-shaped tail cone. Developed in consultation with eight major airlines, the 777 was designed to replace older wide-body airliners and bridge the capacity difference between Boeing’s 767 and 747. As Boeing’s first fly-by-wire airliner, it has computer-mediated controls; it is also the first entirely computer-aided designed commercial aircraft.
The 777 is produced in two fuselage lengths as of 2014. The original 777-200 variant entered commercial service in 1995, followed by the extended-range 777-200ER in 1997. The stretched 777-300, which is 33.3 ft (10.1 m) longer, entered service in 1998. The longer-range 777-300ER and 777-200LR variants entered service in 2004 and 2006 respectively, while afreighter version, the 777F, debuted in February 2009. Both longer-range versions and the freighter feature General Electric GE90 engines and extended raked wingtips. The earlier 777-200, -200ER and -300 versions are equipped with GE90, Pratt & Whitney PW4000 or Rolls-Royce Trent 800 engines. The 777-200LR is the world’s longest-range airliner and can fly more than halfway around the globe; it holds the record for the longest distance flown non-stop by a commercial aircraft.
United Airlines first placed the 777 into commercial airline service on June 7, 1995. The 777 has received more orders than any other wide-body airliner; as of February 2014, 60 customers had placed orders for 1,548 aircraft of all variants, with 1,178 delivered. The most common and successful variant is the 777-300ER with 490 delivered and 722 orders, and Emiratesoperates the largest 777 fleet, with 138 passenger and freighter aircraft as of July 2014. The 777 has been involved in fivehull-loss accidents as of July 2014; the Asiana Airlines Flight 214 accident in July 2013 was its first fatal crash in 18 years of commercial service.
Boeing delivered the first 777 to United Airlines on May 15, 1995. The FAA awarded 180-minute ETOPS clearance (“ETOPS-180”) for the Pratt & Whitney PW4084-engined aircraft on May 30, 1995, making it the first airliner to carry an ETOPS-180 rating at its entry into service. Longer ETOPS clearance of 207 minutes was approved the following October. The first commercial flight took place on June 7, 1995, from London Heathrow Airport to Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C.
On November 12, 1995, Boeing delivered the first model with General Electric GE90-77B engines to British Airways,which placed the aircraft into service five days later. Initial service was affected by gearbox bearing wear issues, which caused the airline to temporarily withdraw its 777 fleet from transatlantic service in 1997. British Airways’ aircraft returned to full service later that year, and General Electric subsequently announced engine upgrades.
The first Rolls-Royce Trent 877-powered aircraft was delivered to Thai Airways International on March 31, 1996, completing the introduction of the three powerplants initially developed for the airliner. Each engine-aircraft combination had secured ETOPS-180 certification from the point of entry into service. By June 1997, orders for the 777 numbered 323 from 25 airlines, including satisfied launch customers that had ordered additional aircraft. Operations performance data established the consistent capabilities of the twinjet over long-haul transoceanic routes, leading to additional sales. By 1998, the 777 fleet had approached 900,000 flight hours. Boeing states that the 777 fleet has a dispatch reliability (rate of departure from the gate with no more than 15 minutes delay due to technical issues) above 99 percent.