The Boeing 777 The First ULR Twin Engine Workhorse

The Boeing 777 in my personal opinion is the aircraft that in the 30 years has changed the most the way and standards of flying. This aircraft type is the one that brought high capacity to the twin engine plane market.

How The Boeing 777 Changed Aviation

Before the launch of the 777 in 1995 most high capacity flights had to be operated by less efficient and fuel hungry 747s on tri-jets. Once the Boeing 777 entered service, all the more when the 777-300ER entered service, the paradigms of flight changed forever.

Airbus who had bet against on the ETOPS extensions had spend most of the’80s developing the 4 engined A340 family and the much smaller A330 found itself chasing Boeing in the high capacity aircraft market segment.

Emirates the world's largest user of the Boeing 777

Which Are The Existing Boeing 777 Variants?

Currently 5 passenger variants of the largest Boeing twin jet exist, with 1 freighter variant also created. The passenger variants so far produced by the American plane manufacturer are:

  • 777-200
  • 777-200ER
  • 777-200LR
  • 777-300
  • 777-300ER

The first variant to enter service was the Boeing 777-200 in May 1995 flying for United Airlines, followed by the 777-200ER and the 777-300.

The 777F on the other hand is the freighter variant of the twin engine jet.

Which Is The Most Popular 777 Variant?

The most common variant to be seen soaring the skies, and most appreciated by airlines, is the 777-300ER. Orders stack up to 837 units for the 777-300ER. That is almost twice as many orders the 777-200ER got. FYI the 200ER is second most ordered variation of the jet.

The Boeing 777-300ER offers the perfect compromise between fuel efficiency, capacity and range. It’s no surprise that this has become the go to plane for many airlines’ long range routes and operations.

Air France the largest European User of the Boeing 777-300ER

Which Variant Has The Longest Range?

The crown for the variant with the longest range doesn’t go to the 300ER variant as some might imagine. That is a title that goes to the smaller 200LR variant. The 200LR is capable is covering up to 15,843Km (or 8,555 miles) with full tanks in ideal conditions. However the extra range comes at a cost.

Boeing increased this variant’s range by fitting it with significantly larger tanks and not by making it more efficient. That means that the plane is capable of carrying a smaller payload. Therefore, with prices of fuel on the rise after it’s launch in 2006, it struggled to win over airline orders that preferred the 200ER variant despite its shorter range.

Which Variant Of the 777 Will Be Produced in The Future?

The future of the Boeing 777 project lays with the 777X programme. Boeing has been working for 10 for just around 10 years now on two new variants of this huge twin engined success:

  • 777-8
  • 777-9

Unfortunately though the project has been plagued with delays due to design issues faced by the manufacturer. So far the new Boeing 777x has yet to fly in commercial service having only flown on test flights and exhibition flights. The most recent events where we got to see it up close were the 2023 Paris and Dubai air shows.

Deliveries initially were scheduled for 2022. That clearly didn’t happen, nor did it in 2023. Airlines such as Cathay Pacific and Emirates are seeming more and more bullish about 2025 deliveries. One thing is for sure, it has taken way longer than anyone had anticipated to get the 777x into commercial service.

Which Airline Has The Largest 777 Fleet?

There are some airlines that really fell in love with the Boeing 777, as it perfectly suited their existing operations and networks. At the moment the airlines that use the largest number of 777 are:

Emirates Logo Emirates777-200LR10
United Airlines Logo United Airlines777-20019
Qatar Airways Logo Qatar Airways777-200LR9
Air France Logo Air France777-200ER18

Emirates is by far the biggest user of the Boeing 777 worldwide. The aircraft is the perfect fit for its operations. It generally serves those airports the Airbus A380 cannot fly to or routes with a lower demand. While remaining in the Gulf region, Qatar Airways hasn’t been able to make the aircraft type work as well as EK and has opted for smaller planes as the A350 and the 787 Dreamliner.

In the US United airlines is the largest user of the Boeing 777 while in Europe the largest operator is Air France.