EVERETT, Wash. – Boeing workers today began assembling the 1,000th 777. The airplane is a Boeing 777-300ER (extended range) model. It will be delivered to Dubai-based Emirates Airline in March 2012.
Emirates is the largest 777 customer with 95 777s currently in its fleet; the 1,000th 777 will be its 102nd.
Production began with loading of the 97-foot (29.5 meter) wing spar – the main support structure for the wing – into a giant tool that automatically drills, measures and installs more than 5,000 fasteners into the spar. The spar components are built in Auburn, Wash., by Boeing Fabrication employees.
“We reached this milestone in only 16 years, eight years sooner than the runner up the 747, because of the enormous popularity of the airplane by the airlines that operate it, and the passengers who fly on it,” said Larry Loftis, vice president and general manager of the 777 program. “Sixty-four airlines have ordered 1,295 777s. The numbers prove that the 777 is the world’s preferred airplane. In fact, it’s preferred 1,000 times over.”
A ceremony to mark the start of production was held today in Everett. Additional employee thank-you events will be held as the airplane moves through the 49-day build process.
“We couldn’t have reached this milestone without the innovation and inspiration of the thousands of employees here at Boeing and at the more than 500 suppliers around the globe that build the 777,” Loftis said. “We thank them and honor them for their contribution to aviation history,” he said.