Boeing has revealed new details of its plans for heavier versions of the 777, which will be led by the -200X effort, which the company hopes to launch, along with the -300X, at the time of the Paris air show in June.

The projected entry-into-service date for the big twin is now mid-2000, "-but we are working to see if we can bring this forward", says vice-president for product strategy and marketing, Mike Bair. The -200X will have a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of between "700,000lb and 730,000lb [318,000-331,500kg], depending on exactly where the range requirement ends up", he says.

The projected 250-passenger aircraft would be able to operate over distances of 15,725-16,650km (8,500-9,000nm) depending on MTOW. Additional fuel capacity would be provided in the outboard wing and horizontal stabiliser, both empty on current versions.

The -300X would have a MTOW of between 313,260kg and 317,800kg to "-get it close to 12,950km range, which would make it a better aircraft and the best 747-200 replacement", says Bair. At the lower weight, the -300X would still offer 25% lower operating costs than those of the 747-100/200 and have a baseline range of 11,655km with the Rolls-Royce Trent 800 or 11,470km for the Pratt & Whitney PW4098. Entry into service is provisionally planned for early 2001.

Leading contenders for the 777-200X are believed to include American Airlines, for the Dallas Fort Worth-Tokyo route; Singapore Airlines, for the non-stop Asia to US West Coast routes; and Malaysia, for similar needs. Both Asian carriers are in the market for up to ten aircraft initially, with longer-term needs for up to 20. United Airlines and Japan Airlines are among the prime candidates for the -300X. Boeing is also pushing the 767-400ERX, which was formally offered for sale for the first time at the start of this month. Entry into service for the 10,460km-range stretch is 2000.

Source: Flight International