1995 - B777 enters service. Michelle Harbi recalls the launch of Boeing's landmark long-haul aircraft It’s 20 years since Boeing’s B777 entered service. Conceived as a midway point between the B767 and B747 in terms of range and seat capacity, the first variant, a B777-200, was launched by United on June 7, 1995 on its London-Washington DC route. Trying it out at the time, consumer editor Alex McWhirter reported that “comfort levels in business and economy are higher than the present industry standard”, with business class legroom on the 292-seat aircraft boosted from 40 to 49 inches, and 1.5-inch wider seats in economy class, which was in an unusual 2-5-2 configuration. Over the years, in its newer extended- and long-range iterations – most notably the B777-300ER, launched in 2004 – the B777 has become both a replacement for the B747 and a fierce rival to Airbus’s A380. It is now Boeing’s best-selling long-haul aircraft, with nearly 70 customers, 1,881 orders and 1,320 deliveries. The next-generation B777X – “the largest and most efficient twin-engine jet in the world”, according to Boeing – is set to go into production in 2017.
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