Twinjet to compete with A380 and 747-400 in growing large cargo aircraft market

Armed with authority to offer the 777-200LR Freighter to airlines, Boeing is aiming for service entry in the fourth quarter of 2008. Launch of the twinjet, which will carry a 101t payload 9,630km (5,200nm), is expected "in the next few months", says Lars Andersen, 777 derivatives programme manager.

The 777-200LRF is aimed at a large freighter market Boeing estimates will increase from 400-450 aircraft today to more 1,000 by 2023, says Tom Crabtree, regional cargo marketing director. That includes Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-400 freighters as well as the MD-11F, for which the 777 Freighter is a direct replacement, he says.

Powered by General Electric GE90-115Bs rated at 110,000lb thrust (490kN), the freighter will have the same take-off gross weight as the passenger 777-200LR, which is scheduled to roll out in February and enter service in 2006.

The freighter will have a large side cargo door aft of the wing able to accommodate 3.1m (10ft) -high cargo pallets, allowing interlining from the 747 freighter, and a "real world" design cargo load density of 48kg/m3 (9.9lb/ft3), says Crabtree.

This matches the 747 freighter's 46-49kg/m3 and compares with the 39kg/m3 published for the A380 freighter, he says, adding: "If we go to the same density as the A380, our range increases by 1,300nm [2,400km]."

Although the 777-200LRF offers "the lowest trip cost of any freighter", according to Andersen, Boeing does not believe the aircraft will compete for sales with the 113t-payload 747-400F/ERF. The manufacturer is talking to airlines about a 134t-capacity freighter version of the as-yet-unlaunched 747 Advanced, but this is not expected to emerge until "towards end of the decade", says Crabtree.



Source: Flight International