Dubai - Emirates is preparing to say goodbye to its last Boeing 777-300 in the fleet. The aircraft, which was delivered to the Gulf-based carrier in 2003, will be phased out soon.
The aircraft is the shorter variant of the 777-300ER (Extended Range) and operated by Emirates on regional flights only.
The company had a relatively small sub-fleet of 777-300 since 1999. The outdated planes have been taken out of service in recent years. In 2016, one was lost in a crash landing at Dubai airport.
Emirates is the largest Boeing 777 operator in the world. The fleet still consists of around 160 Boeing 777s, including a small sub-fleet of ten 777-200LRs. The Long Range variants of the 200 series were recently equipped with a new cabin without the First Class.
The Business Class is equipped with the wider 2-2-2 configuration with 38 seats instead of 2-3-2. The Economy Class has also been renewed. Emirates invested a total of USD 169.5 million for the conversion.
Because the First Class has been dropped and the Business Class has become somewhat smaller, the number of Economy seats grew to 264 from 216.
Before the 777-300s, Emirates phased out its 777-200s. As of 2019, Boeing will be operating only -200ERs and -300ERs.
The 777-200, the first version of the 777 family entered commercial service in 1995. It was followed by the extended-range 777-200ER in 1997. The stretched variant of the aircraft, the 777-300, which is 33.25 ft (10.1 m) longer, made its commercial debut in 1998. The extended-range 777-300ER and ultra-long-range 777-200LR variants of the series entered into service in 2004 and 2006 respectively.
Boeing now gears up to debut the newest 777 model in two variants, the 777-8 and 777-9. The 777-9 is expected to enter service next year with the launch customer Lufthansa.
The manufacturer was planning to present the first Boeing 777-9 last month with a public event but canceled it after the Ethiopian 737 MAX 8 crash in Addis Ababa.