When you think Boeing or hear the term, like most people, you might be inclined to think 747. This may be due to the iconic aircraft attaining household status since its inaugural first flight in the early 70s.
But other than its iconic name, did you also know that it was the original “Jumbo Jet”? A nickname coined for it due to its then large size, especially since it was the first wide-body airplane ever constructed. With its distinctive front protrusion, the 747 was imagined holding close to 150 percent more capacity than its predecessor, the Boeing 707. This increase in capacity ensured that the 747 held the passenger capacity record for close to four decades. It’s hard to find used aircraft that have a better history of success than the 747.
To date, over 1500 units of the aircraft have been sold with each unit going at close to 80 million dollars, up from 24 million dollars when it was first sold. The 747 comes in four variants, namely the 747SP, 747-400, 747-8, VC-25 and E-4.
Another heavyweight worth mentioning is the Boeing 777. Introduced in the mid 90’s, it currently holds the record for being the planets largest twin-jet. With a seating capacity of between 300 to 400, and a maximum range of close to 8600 nautical miles (roughly 16000 km), the “Triple Seven” as it was commonly referred is truly a force to recon with.
It’s long raked wings, six wheels per main landing gear and largest diameter turbofan engines distinctly set it apart from any other aircraft. Developed in coalition with over seven major airlines, the 777 was set to replace older wide-body craft and close the gap between the 747 and 767 capacity difference. To date, roughly 1500 units have been produced, with a majority being primarily used by Emirates, United, Air France and Cathay Pacific airlines.
Its variants include the 200ER that’s priced at about 295 million dollars, the 200LR that goes for around 334 million dollars, the 300ER that goes for 361 and the 777F that retails at 339 million dollars per unit.
When it comes down to these two aircraft, no doubt they are both heavyweights in their respective rights, but what differences do they hold that set them apart from each other? For starters, the 747, like other long-range jets of its day, was built with four engines while the 777 has only two, albeit large engines. On top of this, they are cheaper to run than even later model planes.
In this regard, it would be cheaper to fly in a 777 than 747. Another distinguishable difference is that the 747 was designed with two decks while the 777 only has one. The nose of the 747 is also designed in a way to let it open, this increasing it’s potential as a cargo plane. Down to the landing gear, the 777 almost looks like a caterpillar with its six wheels for each of its two main landing gears. The 747 on the other hand has four main gears with four tires on each. Still on the wheels, the 747 has five sets, while the 777 has only three. In addition to all the above, one can tell that the 747 is bigger solely just by mere observation.
In the years that have gone by, more preference has been made for the Boeing 777 as a commercialized aircraft than the 747. This is more than evident in the number of total units sold in regard to period of existence for each aircraft. Having been around for roughly about 20 years, the 777 has close to, if not outsold its predecessor who’s almost 20-year head start does not help its current predicament. Perhaps in the near future we will see less and less of the iconic 747 and maybe in time, the same might be said for the 777. Until then however, happy flying.