Potential -200LR derivative could operate Sydney-London year-round equipped with lighter, low-density cabin

Boeing is discussing with airlines a potential 777-200LR derivative offering a range “in excess of 10,000nm [18,500km]” when equipped with additional auxiliary fuel tanks and a lighter interior.

The baseline -200LR, which is nearing the end of its flight-test programme, is offered with up to three auxiliary fuel tanks installed in its aft belly hold, giving it a range of 17,400km with 301 passengers. This performance is superior to that quoted by Airbus for the ultra-long-range A340-500, making the -200LR the longest-range airliner available.

However, Boeing regional director product marketing Anita Polt says that following customer requests a further range push is being examined that would enable the -200LR to fly distances in excess of 18,500km: “We can install up to six auxiliary fuel tanks, but if you want to go more than 9,400nm you need to take some weight out of the interior and go for lower density seating,” she says. “This would push range well over 10,000nm.”

Polt declines to identify whether the discussions are with existing or potential 777-200LR customers, or which city-pairs are in mind for such an aircraft. However, Flight International understands that it would be able to fly in both directions between London and Sydney non-stop.

Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon said earlier this year that the Australian flag carrier was interested in operating the 777-200LR as a “hub buster” and said he believed Boeing was “not too far from getting an economic payload into London” (Flight International, 12-18 July). The still-air distance from Sydney to London Heathrow is 17,000km, but allowances for headwinds and minimum fuel reserves require a range of 17,600km.

The longest scheduled air route operated is the 16,600km service between Singapore and New York flown by Singapore Airlines using its A340-500s with a relatively low-density cabin arrangement. These flights can last up to 18h depending on winds and routeing.


Source: Flight International