Le 777 cargo

I’m reminded that I was present at the birth, so to speak, of the 777 Freighter program. It happened in May of 2005, in Shanghai. This was the occasion of the signing of the first Air France 777F contract as well as the formal launch of the program.

So I’ve got to say it was a pretty good feeling to see the culmination of all of that over the weekend as the new 777 Freighter enters service for the first time.

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At last week’s 777F delivery ceremony at the Future of Flight Aviation Center in Mukilteo, Washington: (from left) Aldo Basile, Commercial Airplanes VP, Sales for Europe, Russia & Central Asia; Pierre Vellay, Air France executive VP for New Aircraft & Corporate Fleet Planning; Larry Loftis, Commercial Airplanes VP & general manager, 777 program; and Pascal Morvan, senior VP, Cargo Operations & Logistics for Air France.

Now that Air France Cargo has taken delivery of their first 777F, they’ll be operating it alongside their current fleet of five 747-400ER Freighters (Air France was the first operator of that model as well) and will eventually replace their four 747-400BCFs. As Air France noted, the new freighter also fits well with the airline’s proven 777 passenger fleet.

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The 1st 777 Freighter prepped for delivery.

The specs on the 777 Freighter are impressive. It has a range of 4,880 nautical miles (9,038 kilometers) with a full payload of 226,700 pounds (103 metric tons). It’s the longest-range, most economical freighter flying today. I have no doubt that the 777 Freighter will improve Air France’s cargo efficiency and help their bottom line in this challenging economy.

The 777F is the first all-new freighter to enter the market in more than a dozen years. It was targeted for delivery in the last quarter, but due to our work stoppage it slid to first quarter 2009.

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A view from under the wing as the 2nd 777F is seen taxiing out for a flight - with the big doors of the Everett factory just beyond. That 2nd freighter is scheduled to deliver to Air France this week.

You have to give a lot of credit to the manufacturing team in Everett who effectively integrated this new model into the 777 production line. In addition, the refurbishment team has faced a few challenges of their own this winter getting the two flight test airplanes turned around into delivery configuration: a highly compressed schedule and record snow fall over the holiday break, to name a few. Along with the efforts of the engineering and flight test teams, everyone pulled together to get the 777 Freighter where it is today.

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A ceremonial shower just before the first 777F flies away.

I’ve mentioned before that the 777 family is the product of continuous improvements in performance and technology across the models. So think of the 777 Freighter as just the latest step in our efforts to make a great product even better. But any time you deliver the first airplane of its type, whether all-new, or major derivative, it’s a big deal. And this is a big deal we can really feel good about.

Comments (9)

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

Magnifique!

Avion fantastique, bien fait! :)

Very beautiful jet, I might add.

YvonneFang (Tianjin, China):

Well, nice 777, good start for Boeing in 2009.

Ben (Mesa, AZ):

C'est vraiment la pièce de résistance !
(It truly is a masterpiece !)

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

The 777 cargo plane looks very good, I think this variant of the 777 will excel on range and capacity like no equal size cargo plane can.

Chris C (South Africa):

The 777Freighter is one seriously impressive, sexy looking airplane! I would vote the 777F as the best looking 777 family member to date. And what’s really stupendous, is that it’s not only a seriously impressive looking airplane, it also is a seriously capable, fuel-efficient and technologically advanced freighter. With the 747-8F and 777F, Boeing has truly sealed the large airplane freighter market with the most capable, market-preferred, efficient and industry-leading freighters, period.

The 777F offers the lowest trip costs of any large freighter airplane and the 747-8F offers the lowest ton/mile costs of any large freighter, all whilst both offer the highest load densities in the industry and most versatile platforms.

The 777F and 747-8F are the pinnacle of freighter airplanes and are the freighters of the 21st Century.

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

Just got to see the 'Put together Quickly', and 'Delivery' videos on newairplane.com. I've always been interested in the manufacturing process - especially for planes assembled at Everett. Highly recommend those videos - what an amazing process!

Well done on yet another on time (roughly), excellently engineered and built Triple Seven. What a brilliant addition to the longer-range 777 family. It's been exactly six years now since the maiden flight of the first member of that growth family, the 777-300ER. Definitely, something worth patting your backs for.

Ed (Ireland):

Its a lovely looking plane.

Without the windows, it looks really similar to the 767.

Chris C (South Africa):

Here’s some additional interesting information regarding Air France and their Boeing Freighter Airplanes:
1. Air France launched the 747-400F program on September 13th, 1989 and nearly 16 years later, launched the Boeing 777F program as well!
2. Air France loves them’ orders of five! Air France ordered 5 Boeing 747-400Fs in late 1989, ordered 5 Boeing 777Fs on 23rd May 2005 and operates a fleet of 5 Boeing 747-400ERFs!
3. Air France is the first operator for both the -400ERF and 777F.
Air France cancelled its order before first flight of the 747-400F, which flew on May 4th 1993, due to a massive economic recession in the early 1990s which in turn naturally hampered cargo growth. -400F orders were slow thereafter with the markets slowly recovering. Once again we’re in a massive economic recession with cargo traffic declining at the moment, but thankfully this time around 777F orders and 747-8F orders remain intact and Air France held onto the 777F, despite similar economic climates as some 15 years ago.

Freight is an interesting business. Lufthansa ordered the first 747-200F into production and ended up being the only operator of the 747-200F for two years before other airlines started taking -200Fs. Economic recession hit hard in the 1970s as well. Boeing built a total of 73 -200Fs.

Another noteworthy item is that despite 747-200Fs being relatively young in the early 1990s and the growing 747-200SF market base, Boeing still pushed ahead with the 747-400F. This clearly was the best business decision ever as the -400F is a stellar airplane. Today, despite the 747-400Fs being relatively young and the growing 747-400BCF/-SF market base, Boeing is pushing ahead with the 747-8F. This time, the business case for the -8F is even stronger than the -400F. The -8F is the pinnacle of air-freight excellence and the freighter of the future, along with the 777F, period.

j magdsick (duluth .mn.usa):

I like the innovative thinking Boeing showed by paying for the naming rights of the latest economic stimulus package. 787! (how much did it cost for those naming rights ,and what was airbus's highest bid? good day!

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