Here's a great article from the latest Aviation Week & Space Technology:
Aviation Week & Space Technology
05/10/2004, page 43
"ILFC, Boeing's biggest customer, sees broad applications for 777-300ER
Long Haul Rising
With an encouraging endorsement from its biggest airplane customer that ILFC is "short on supply," Boeing has delivered the first 777-300ER that it expects to redefine long-haul operations.
The encouragement came from International Lease Finance Corp. Chairman/CEO Steven Udvar-Hazy, who complimented Boeing for exceeding its initial performance specifications with a 1.5% better fuel burn, 900-ft. shorter takeoff field length and 500-naut.-mi. gain in range than originally predicted. "And the price didn't even go up," he quipped.
ILFC is the world's largest aircraft purchaser--more than 600 from Boeing--and is the biggest 777-300ER customer with 18 orders, all of them placed. "So every indication is that we are running short on supply," he says. Six of those orders go to Air France, including the initial delivery, and 12 to Emirates. ILFC is in negotiations with Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways about taking the -300ER (Cathay was a launch customer for the 777-300) to replace the Airbus A340-600s it has leased. Cathay's interest is in nonstop, polar flights from its big Toronto and New York destinations--flights it proved out using the A340.
Udvar-Hazy said negotiations also are underway with Virgin Atlantic Airways for 777-300ERs as replacements for its A340-300s, and with KLM, which is now part of Air France.
Air France, which operates 25 777-200ERs, is buying 10 -300ERs in addition to the six it's leasing, and will use them to replace its 747-400s. Its first -300ER service will be to New York. The aircraft's 7,700-naut.-mi. range makes flights to Tokyo possible, and they will be added in June.
Udvar-Hazy anticipates less demand for the -300ER's companion, the 777-200LR, due for delivery in 2006, because he doesn't see many city pairs that require its extreme range of 9,280 naut. mi. Boeing thinks airlines will develop more of those applications once the -200LR is available.
Udvar-Hazy sees broad customer appeal for Boeing's newest product, the 7E7, although he teases Boeing by saying the "E" in the name stands for "expensive," rather than "efficient," as Boeing asserts. At list prices, the initial aircraft went for $120 million each to All Nippon Airways.
Although Asia and the Middle East are expected to provide the bulk of the 7E7's initial sales, Europe has potential, according to Marlin Daily, who heads Boeing sales there. Lufthansa leads the list of prospective buyers, using the 7E7-3 short-range version for domestic routes to replace its A300s."
Sounds like Boeing has a winner.