February 2005 
Volume 03, Issue 9 
Commercial Airplanes

Carrying the load

New 777F broadens Boeing cargo leadership


Caring the LoadWith its November decision to offer the Boeing 777 Freighter, Boeing is expanding its 777 family of airplanes with a freighter model—and is further strengthening its leadership position in the world air cargo market.

"Boeing is responding to staunch customer demand for a cargo airplane with increased range, reliability and lower operating costs," said Lars Andersen, 777 Derivatives program manager. "The new airplane will fly farther than any other freighter and provide more capacity than any other twin-engine freighter."

The new freighter is based upon the technologically advanced 777-200LR (Longer Range) passenger airplane and is projected to enter service in fourth quarter 2008.


The 777 Freighter embodies what cargo customers are demanding: an efficient, long-range, high-capacity freighter.

The 777 family has proven itself to be the leader in delivering twin-engine efficiency to the passenger marketplace with lower fuel consumption, maintenance costs and operating costs. The 777 Freighter will bring that value to the large freighter market. The airplane will have a revenue payload capability of 101 metric tons (222,000 pounds) and be capable of flying 9,630 kilometers (5,200 nautical miles) with a full payload. This distance will link new, nonstop routes such as Frankfurt to Seoul, London to Bangkok, and Shanghai to San Francisco.

Tom Crabtree, regional director in Commercial Airplanes Marketing-Air Cargo, said that only Boeing offers the flexibility, choice and cost savings in its freighter product line that customers desire.

"The increased range capability in the 777 Freighter will translate into significant savings for cargo operators, in terms of fewer stops and associated landing fees, less congestion at transfer hubs, and shorter cargo delivery times," said Crabtree.

Just as important, it will integrate smoothly with existing cargo operations and facilitate interlining, or the ability to easily transfer cargo pallets between airplanes, with 747 freighter fleets.

"The height of the 777 Freighter main cargo door will accommodate 10-foot-high pallets, making its ability to interline with 747 freighter fleets a key feature in the airplane's design," said Crabtree. "This is important because one out of every four or five cargo pallets changes airplanes in route, so this activity must be as streamlined and cost-efficient as possible."


777 Freighter specifications

Total volume: 23,455 cubic feet (636 cubic meters)
Maximum payload: 222,000 pounds (101 metric tons)
Maximum fuel capacity: 47,890 U.S. gallons (181,280 liters)
Maximum range: 5,200 nautical miles (9,630 kilometers) with volume limit payload at 9.9 lb/ft3 (160 kg/m3)
Typical cruise speed (at 35,000 feet/10,700 meters): 0.84 Mach

As has been the case with other Boeing airplanes, the 777 Freighter's design incorporates feedback from customers.

Kourosh Hadi, 777 Product Development chief engineer, said one of the critical studies that involved customer interaction was the location of the main deck cargo door and whether to locate it forward or aft of the wing—a decision that had design ramifications on the airplane.

In an effort to gather data, a multidisciplinary team of Boeing employees, from Engineering, Operations, Commercial Aviation Services and Finance, brought a group of cargo customers to a Boeing ramp at Boeing Field in Seattle to simulate loading and unloading procedures to determine what kind of door configuration would work best.

"Our team demonstrated the ground operation with two different door locations and measured the clearances relative to the airplane in real time and under many different real-life conditions," said Hadi. "What we learned from our customers was invaluable."

The team concluded that the best location for the main deck cargo door was aft of the wing. Other factors considered were cargo arrangement and capacity, airplane weight and loadability, ground service operation and clearances to the wing and engines, and structural simplicity.

"In the end, we came away with a much improved design solution," said Hadi.


Boeing currently is in discussions with several potential customers for the 777 Freighter and anticipates a strong market demand for the airplane. The Boeing family of freighters dominates the global air cargo industry, providing more than 90 percent of total worldwide dedicated freighter capacity.

As intra-Asia, transpacific and Europe- Asia routes lead growth, the market will increasingly demand long-range, low ton-kilometer cost service. Boeing forecasts that large widebody freighters (65 metric tons and above in capacity) will comprise 31 percent of the total freighter fleet by 2023.



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