Boeings 777 freighter roll-out

ON 21 May, Boeing rolled out the first B777 freighter at its Everett facility in Washington.

But, as the manufacturer showed off its latest product to assembled employees, suppliers and customers, news came through that oil had reached a record high and looks set to remain at unprecedented levels for the forseeable future.

So how will this effect the sales of new freighters and particularly the 777F. One problem is that smaller widebody freighter operators are suffering losses and a number have already collapsed, meaning that the potential customer base is shrinking.

In addition, many large combination carriers are scaling down their fleets or shelving expansion plans in the current climate.

On the flip side, however, the oil price is hastening the removal of older, less-efficient aircraft and many of these have to be replaced. So the prospects in the medium term are good.

“We are excited to debut the newest member of our 777 and freighter families. Today is a tribute to the dedication and hard work our employees, customers and suppliers put into making this airplane a reality,” said Larry Loftis, vice-president, 777 program.

To date, Boeing has secured 78 firm orders from 11 customers for the 777 freighter.

Launch customer, Air France, are delighted that the aircraft is progressing well and on track for delivery in the fourth quarter. “We are very pleased with the high level of participation and input Boeing solicited from the customers in the development of this airplane,” said Pierre Vellay, senior vice-president of new aircraft and corporate fleet planning, Air France.

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