It is rather amazing that up until today, no US-based airline has ordered the Boeing 777-300ER. Even though nearly all the legacy US airlines (exceptions Northwest and US Airways) bought the 777, the US 777 fleet has not included the larger model.
Today American announced it has exercised options for two -300ERs. Delivery is set for late 2012. We have heard that American might consider up to 20 of these models. Interestingly American mentions slot-constrained airports as one of the reasons they are acquiring the airplane. That gives you an idea where these airplanes are likely to be seen first.
Boeing is rightly proud of this aircraft. As they point out at every opportunity: “The Boeing 777-300ER is 19 percent lighter than its closest competitor. It produces 22 percent less carbon dioxide per seat and costs 20 percent less to operate per seat.” Among most analysts the consensus is that the 777-300ER is the benchmark long-range twin airliner.
The selection of this airplane by American is clearly to support its growing alliance connections. American’s decision is a good one because a large aircraft with such attractive economics and proven performance will add to both the airline and its alliance’s fleet. It’s a wonder this has not happened before.