Re: Why "IGW" instead of "ER", and other question about 777's...

Date:         23 Apr 97 02:58:17 
From:         M Carling <m@ml.com>
Organization: Merrill Lynch
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tassio@watson.ibm.com wrote:
>
> Andrew Chuang wrote:
> >Mihir Pramod Shah <mishah@vt.edu> wrote:
> >> Is there a 777-300X being considered?
> >Yes, I think it's highly likely to be launched with the 777-200X at
> >the Paris Air Show.
>
>    According to Boeing's web page, the range for the heaviest 777-300
> is 6500mi, and the 747-400 range is 8290mi. I imagine the range for a
> 777-300X will be about the same as the 747-400. Given the 777's much
> lower operating costs, what would then be the advantage of
> operating the 747-400 (as opposed to the 777-300X)?

While Boeing's web page claims 8290 miles for the 747-400, this is
wildly optimistic. The longest non-stop route that anyone has been able
to fly in both directions is United's ORD-HKG service at 7786 miles,
which can only be flown during the summer, and is severely
weight-restricted (301 seat configuration versus the usual 420 seats,
and no cargo).

On the other hand, Boeing's claim of 8225 miles for the 777-200IGW
appears to be very conservative. I believe it is Boeing's official
policy that the 747-400 has greater range than the 777-200IGW, though
the evidence seems to suggest that the 777-200IGW has a range of at
least 500 miles more than the 747-400.

At this time, it is very difficult for us to accurately estimate the
range of the 777-300X, but I'm confident that it will exceed the range
of the present 747-400 by at least 1000 miles. This brings us to the
question of why anyone would operate a 747-400 rather than a 777-300X,
given that the latter will certainly have lower operating costs. There
are two reasons.

The 747-400 has greater capacity (by at least 50 pax) than will the
777-300X. In markets with slot restricted airports, this is important.

Also, many long routes are transarctic, flying from North America to the
Orient (flights are transpacific in the other direction to take
advantage of headwinds). It is unlikely that transarctic routes can be
flown with ETOPS aircraft (even if Russia allows the use of military
bases in northeastern Siberia, they are likely to be unavailable because
of weather). So a twin would have to fly either a longer transpacific
route against headwinds or an even longer yet trans-Siberian route with
tailwinds. I don't see this happening with flights in the 8000 miles
range such as JFK-HKG, which a 747-400IGW might serve. Flights in the
9000+ mile range such as JFK-SIN may be flown across Siberia by a
777-200X (or possibly a 777-300X should it prove to have the range).

M Carling