SINGAPORE AIRLINES is showing increasing interest in the extra-long-range Boeing 777-100X, and was given detailed briefings with 12 other major carriers on the aircraft during a "brain-storming" session in Seattle at the start of October.

Other airlines attending the 777-100X briefing included Cathay Pacific, Thai Airways International, Emirates, Korean Air Lines, British Airways, United Airlines and American Airlines. Boeing has outlined plans to launch the extra long-range version of its newest twinjet in 1996 with first services in 1999. The 777-100X will be shorter than the -200 and carry 250 passengers in a three-class arrangement on ranges over 14,800km (8,000nm).

"The -100X would give us the range to fly from Singapore to the [US] West Coast direct," says Kian-Hai Lean, vice-president of SIA's US south-west division.

The 777-100X offering could also affect SIA's selection of a "Y-aircraft", a goal which has now been broadened out from the original aim of finding a replacement for its Airbus A310s on regional routes (Flight International, 25-31 October).

The basic competition is down to a choice between the A330 and 777, says Lean. A decision is now expected "before the end of the year", he adds.

Both manufacturers have offered SIA exchange deals on the new aircraft against its existing orders, Boeing for 20 747-400s (including three freighters) and another ten on option, and Airbus for 17 A340-300s (with options on a further 20).

Source: Flight International