Boeing rolls out its first 777 Freighter

It was one of those typically damp and cool Pacific Northwest spring days last month as Boeing debuted its latest newbuild freighter ¨C the 777F ¨C which brings unparalleled range, capacity and fuel efficiency to the dedicated freighter market.

Raindrops from an earlier passing shower were still glistening on the immaculately polished skin of the freshly painted twin-engine freighter as Boeing unveiled, in grandiose style, its newest and most advanced freighter to customers, suppliers, employees and themedia.

“We are excited to debut the newest member of our 777 and freighter families,” a jubilant Larry Loftis, VP of the 777 programme told the assembled audience of a few hundred people at its Everett, Washington facility on 21 May.

“Today is a tribute to the dedication and hard work of our employees, customers and suppliers put into making this airplane a reality.” An earlier ceremony was held at 4am the same day in order for Boeing employees working the early shift to also celebrate its unveiling.

He added that the new freighters’ range, efficiency and capacity as a twin-engine cargo plane “will build on the Boeing leadership in the cargo market.” With a newbuild freighter market between now and 2026 forecast by Boeing to hit nearly 870 aircraft worth a total of US$197 billion at current valuation, the airframer sees a market for around 200 freighters the size of the 777F.

Boeing forecasts that the large widebody freighter market (75 tonnes and above in capacity) will comprise about 36 per cent of the market by that time. Overall, Boeing expects cargo growth to expand at an average annual rate of 6.1 per cent during the next 20 years (three-fold increase in worldwide air freight) with most of the new freighters going to carriers in North America, Asia and Europe.