In hopes of accelerating retirement of their aging Boeing 747-400 aircraft, United has actively been modernizing their widebody fleet. On March 8, 2016, the airline announced a firm order for 10 Boeing 777-300ERs, as well as 27 787 Dreamliners and 35 Airbus A350XWBs.
According to the carrier, the 777-300ER will provide “attractive upgauge and range opportunities to the company at competitive economics.” The new airplane is expected to replace routes initially operated by the 747, particularly within the Asian market.
The aircraft will also debut United’s new Polaris business class product, which features enhanced dining, special lounges, and a fully lie-flat seat. Polaris is expected to launch on December 1, 2016.
BONUS STORY: An Exclusive Look at United’s New Polaris Product
The first 777-300ER, N58031 (LN 1454), rolled out of Boeing’s Everett facility late Wednesday evening after being delayed due to inclement weather. The aircraft features two GE-90-115B1b engines, which are among the largest engines in the world by diameter.
United will join American Airlines as the only US carriers operating the extended 777.
In 1995, United became the first carrier to introduce the 777 into service with a flight from London to Washington-Dulles. Today, this aircraft (N777UA) is still in service.
The airplane’s first flight is still to be determined, however the aircraft is expected to be delivered by December.
Photos of the United 777-300ER rollout:
*All photos provided by Holden Riley (@PlanesAtPaine)