Boeing today started preparing the first 777 Freighter to enter final assembly next week in advance of an official roll-out ceremony in late-May.

Production workers started the process of joining three sections of the fuselage in a process called final body join, a Boeing spokesman says.

Boeing has completed installation of the aircraft systems and the main deck cargo door for the widebody freighter.

The first 777F is scheduled to be delivered to launch customer Air France in late 2008 after completing a relatively brief flight test program that starts in the third quarter.

Boeing has sold 78 777F to 11 customers, including one order by FedEx for 15 aircraft.