Boeing mechanics have began the first step in assembly of the new 777 Freighter at the company’s Everett facility in Washington, US.
‘We are excited to begin production of the 777 Freighter so we can put the airplane into service with our customers,’ said Larry Loftis, vice president of the 777 Freighter programme for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. ‘The 777 Freighter’s unmatched range, efficiency and capacity as a twin-engine cargo airplane will significantly enhance our customers’ ability to deliver freight.’
According to Boeing, the first 777 Freighter, which will boast a range of 9,045km with a full payload and have a maximum takeoff weight of 347,450kg, will be delivered to Air France in the fourth quarter of 2008.
The Freighter is the sixth model of the 777 family. Based on the 777-220LR Worldliner, the Freighter will be powered by the GE-90-110B1L engine and adds features including a main-deck cargo door, a strengthened structure and a maneuver load alleviation system to distribute the load on the aircraft in-flight.
‘Our vision to develop the 777 Freighter as the world’s most capable twin-engine cargo airplane is now becoming a reality with the start of major assembly,’ said Kim Pastega, deputy program manager and engineering leader. ‘Our customers and suppliers worked closely with us to reach this important milestone.’
To date, Boeing has taken orders for 80 777 Freighters from 11 customers, accounting for more than 20 per cent of the programmes backlog.