Fort Worth, Texas-based American Airlines has exercised options for two 777-300ERs to become the first U.S. customer for the stretched, extended-range version of the 777.
American says it will take delivery of the aircraft in late 2012, but neither the airline nor Boeing has initially put a list-price value on the order and American has not revealed any other terms of the contract.
According to the airline, it will use the 777-300ERS to expand international service, either incremental frequencies in markets American serves today, or new routes largely resulting from its alliance initiatives.
“These additional wide-body aircraft will bolster our network strategy, particularly the international growth opportunities we expect from our joint businesses with oneworld partners in the transatlantic and transpacific markets,” says Tom Horton, president of AMR Corp., the parent company of American Airlines and American Eagle.
“We believe it is important to grow but to do so sensibly, in the right places and, importantly, under the right economic circumstances,” adds Horton. “Our purchase of additional 777s, our first growth aircraft since 2001, further demonstrates that philosophy and we will continue to look for growth opportunities that make the most sense for our customers, shareholders and employees.”
“American Airlines is an industry leader whose vision and disciplined approach to growth has made it one of the largest airlines in the world,” says Jim Albaugh, Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ president and CEO. “American is the first carrier in the United States to order the 777-300ER. These new airplanes will complement their large fleet of 777-200ERs, offering additional flexibility in serving the nonstop routes, while providing increased efficiency and reliability.”
“We value the combination of size, range and performance of the 777-300ER, as well as the extensive customer amenities it offers,” adds Horton. ” The seating capability of the aircraft will give us growth flexibility in slot-constrained airports and provide us with greater ability to serve new long-haul markets.”
According to Boeing, the Boeing 777-300ER is 19 per cent lighter than its closest competitor (which is the Airbus A340-600, sales of which have completely dried up as a result of the market success of the 777-300ER). Boeing claims the 777-300ER produces 22 per cent less carbon dioxide per seat and costs 20 per cent less to operate per seat than the competitor.
The 777-300ER can seat up to 365 passengers in a three-class configuration and has a maximum range of 7,930 nautical miles (14,685 km).
Boeing incorporated several performance enhancements for the 777-300ER, extending its range and payload capabilities. Better-than-expected performance during flight-testing, combined with engine efficiency improvements and design changes that reduce drag and airplane weight, contributed to the increased capability.