This week’s order from KLM for two Boeing 777-300ERs is the first announced this year for the current version of the airliner, and comes as production transitions to the new-generation 777X. It is unclear how many additional production “bridge” aircraft remain to be sold, but Boeing is working on additional campaigns as the sun sets on the -300ER.
According to Cirium fleets data, the KLM order was placed in July as an unidentified customer. Cirium data shows a total of 34 -300ER orders outstanding from 11 customemrs: Aeroflot (3), ANA (2), BOC Aviation (3), China Southern Airlines (1), Emirates (6), KLM (2), Novus Aviation (4), Pakistan International Airlines (5), Swiss (2) and United Airlines (4), along with two from an undisclosed customer.
Speaking at the Paris air show in June, Ihssane Mounir, vice president of sales and marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said talks were ongoing with several potential customers for additional -300ERs as production transitions to the 777X family.
“We have some…we have a number of folks – more than ‘some’ – who are still considering the 777-300ER. We have campaigns ongoing,” he said.
Mounir added that the delay to the first flight of the 777-9 – which had been due to take place by June but is not likely until 2020 due to engine design issues – would not mean that production bridge between the two variants would be extended.
“There will be a point when we cut one and just continue with the other. The -300ER will dovetail into the 777X and the  Freighter will continue for a while until we get into the 777X Freighter,” he said.
Chris Seymour, head of market analysis at Ascend by Cirium, says it is unclear exactly how many -300ER slots remain to be delivered.
“We have 18 -300ERs on backlog for 2020 which is the last year we had forecast deliveries for. We don’t know exactly the split of 777X versus non-777X being built – ie 777-300ERs and 777Fs. But with the recent strength of 777F orders, there are possibly less than 10 open slots left for -300ERs when running at the current rate of 3.5 aircraft per month/42 aircraft per year.”