United opts for 777 performance improvement package

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Boeing plans to install a performance improvement package (PIP) on United Airlines' fleet 52 Boeing 777 aircraft.

The package is designed to improve the aircraft's aerodynamics through a software change to enable a drooped aileron, ram air system improvement and the installation of improved wing vortex generators, says the airframer.

The modified 777 fleet will reduce the carrier's fuel costs per aircraft by around $200,000 every year (assuming $100 per barrel crude oil prices), Boeing adds.

Continental Airlines, which merged with United Airlines last year, was among the first airlines to sign up for the package, agreeing to outfit 20 777s in 2007.

Boeing says 18 airlines with fleets totalling more than 350 airplanes have ordered the 777 PIP, which is focused on the 777-200, -200ER (extended range) and -300 models, accounting for more than 500 airplanes. The upgrades are incorporated in the newer 777 models, the 777-200LR (longer range), -300ER and Freighter, during factory production.