The iconic airplane (line number WA001 and registered B-HNL) flew from Cathay Pacific’s home airport in Hong Kong to Tucson, Arizona on September 18. The jet will be displayed permanently at the museum alongside more than 350 other notable aircraft.
Boeing first flew the 777-200 aircraft on June 12, 1994 and continued to use it as a test airplane for several years. The aircraft joined the Cathay Pacific fleet in 2000, ferrying passengers across the airline’s global network until it was retired earlier this year.
Since its first flight, the 777 program has become the world’s most successful twin-engine, twin aisle airplane. Its unique combination of long range, outstanding fuel efficiency and popular cabin has attracted carriers to place more than 1,660 orders. Cathay Pacific was one of the original customers and today operates one of the largest 777 fleets.
“Cathay Pacific has been instrumental in the tremendous success of the 777 program. The airline contributed greatly to the airplane’s original design and has been one of its biggest ambassadors ever since. And now they are a launch customer for our new 777X airplane. We are thrilled to partner with Cathay on this donation to the museum as a way to share the remarkable story of the Boeing 777 for years come,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Kevin McAllister.
In the 1990s, Cathay Pacific was one of a handful of airlines to provide input for the 777 during the design phase. This gave Hong Kong’s home airline a unique opportunity to refine the airplane’s features to suit its needs. Among the requests were a cabin cross-section similar to the Boeing 747, a modern ‘glass’ cockpit, fly-by-wire system, and, lower operating costs.
Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Officer Rupert Hogg said: “As the world’s very first 777, B-HNL holds a very special place in the history of both our airline and that of commercial aviation, and we are very pleased it will soon bring enjoyment to enthusiasts at its new home in Arizona.
“Our 777-200 aircraft have served us exceptionally well over the last two decades, and as we progressively retire these over the months ahead, we eagerly look forward to welcoming the state-of-the art 777-9 aircraft into our fleet from 2021,” he added.
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