Boeing 777 safety history almost unblemished over two decades

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The Boeing 777 family has enjoyed a remarkable safety record during almost two decades of service, with just two operational hull losses - including one with fatalities - suffered prior to the disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines aircraft.

The twinjet made its debut in June 1995 with United Airlines, and to date some 1,178 aircraft have been delivered worldwide.

The type suffered its first major accident on 17 January 2008 when a 777-200ER operated by British Airways crashed on final approach to London Heathrow, after a flight from Beijing. All 152 passengers and crew on board survived. The investigation identified that both Rolls-Royce Trent 892 engines lost power due to ice contamination in the fuel.

Last year, a Boeing 777-200ER operated by Asiana Airlines crashed on landing at San Francisco International Airport after a flight from Incheon Airport, Seoul. Three passengers among the 291 passengers and 16 crew on board died in the 6 July accident, and a further 41 people were injured. The accident is still under investigation.

Another 777 - operated by Egyptair - was destroyed in July 2011 when a fire broke out in the cockpit while the aircraft was parked at Cairo as it was preparing to push back. All on board the 777-200ER were safely evacuated. The fire is understood to have originated in an area below the co-pilot's side window and to have been fed by leaking oxygen.

Boeing says that the 777 fleet has operated almost five million flights and accumulated more than 18 million flight hours.