Air Transport World

Onward and downward. (Boeing is using a stretched version of the 777 for 747 markets)

Boeing is stretching the 777 further into the 747 markets

When Joe Sutter, Jack Steiner and the other Boeing engineers were hard at work developing the 747 in the mid-1960s, they probably didn't think much about what kind of airplane would replace the giant that they were trying to get off the ground. Even if they had done so, they probably wouldn't have guessed that it would be a big twin. Yes, a twin.

But such a thing is happening. As the latest twin-engine Boeing offering--the 777--develops, it is moving deeper and deeper into the range and payload capabilities of the 747, particularly the versions of the 4-engine aircraft that preceded the dash 300.

This is true of the 777-200, the first into service, carrying passengers for United Airlines. In the fall of 1990, when the aircraft was being launched by United's order for 34 plus options for a like number, Boeing was marketing it chiefly as a replacement for 3-engine widebodies--the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 and the Lockheed L-1011. The fact that it was very close to the early 747s in range and capacity was secondary.

But when the 777-300 stretch was launched officially late last June, just a few days after the dash 200 entered service, Boeing said its primary mission would be to replace 747-100s and dash 200s--those without the stretched upper deck that arrived on the dash 300. Now, according to Joseph W. …

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