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The Boeing 777 vs 787 – Which Plane Is Best?





The Boeing 787 ‘Dreamliner’ has revolutionized long-haul commercial air travel. It has allowed cheaper long-haul carriers to exist, while also unlocking new, long routes. But how does it compare to its predecessor? The 777 had previously been the long-haul workhorse of the airline industry. Before the arrival of the Dreamliner, it was thought to have its future guaranteed.

United Boeing Widebodies 777 And 787
United Airlines operates both the 777 (above) and 787 (below) families. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Not intended as a competitor

The 787 can easily and more efficiently operate many of the routes the 777 was designed for. As such, many airlines have either upgraded to the 787, or are awaiting the arrival of the next-generation 777X. But how exactly do the two aircraft compare?

Boeing did not initially design the 787 to compete with the 777. Naturally, it would make little sense for a manufacturer to compete with itself. However, we can still compare the two from an airline’s perspective, to see which comes out on top in areas such as cost-effectiveness.

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Boeing 777X, Delivery Delays, 2023
Boeing’s next-generation 777X made its first test flight in January 2020. Photo: Getty Images

Comparing the specifications

Let’s start by looking at how the two families’ variants directly compare in crucial areas such as size, range, and capacity. You can find the relevant data in the table below.

Aircraft Length Wingspan Typical two-class capacity Range
777-200 63.73 m 60.93 m 313 9,700 km (5,240 NM)
777-200ER 63.73 m 60.93 m 313 13,080 km (7,065 NM)
777-200LR 63.73 m 64.80 m 317 15,843 km (8,555 NM)
777-300 73.86 m 60.93 m 396 11,165 km (6,030 NM)
777-300ER 73.86 m 64.80 m 396 13,649 km (7,370 NM)
787-8 56.72 m 60.12 m 242 13,620 km (7,355 NM)
787-9 62.81 m 60.12 m 290 14,140 (7,635 NM)
787-10 68.28 m 60.12 m 330 11,910 km (6,430 NM)

As shown in the table, the two smaller 787s top the 777s in terms of range. However, the larger 787-10 comes into its own against the 777 family. As such, this will be the primary aircraft that we will compare and contrast with the iconic ‘triple-seven.’


Singapore Airlines 787-10
Singapore Airlines welcomed the world’s first Boeing 787-10 aircraft at Singapore Changi Airport back in March 2018. Photo: Getty Images


The Boeing 777 series is generally larger than the 787 and thus can carry more passengers. The 787-10 has a higher capacity than the smaller 777-200 series. However, it falls short of the larger 777-300 models by 66 passengers in a typical two-class configuration.


This factor is a bit more complicated. The 787-10 has a greater range than the standard 777-200 and -300 models. However, it falls behind when compared to Boeing’s special long-range and extended-range 777 variants.


List price

As Simple Flying reported in January, the list price of the Boeing 787-10 is $338.4 million. Meanwhile, the list price of the 777-300ER is $375.5 million. As such, airlines must decide whether the greater capacity and range in this instance are worth an extra $37.1 million.

United 787-10
The 787-10 has only been in active commercial service for a fraction of the 777’s lifetime. Photo: Getty Images

Airlines may choose not to take this financial risk, particularly nowadays. After all, with trends generally moving away from high-capacity, hub-to-hub travel, they may find it hard to fill the 777-300ER’s extra 66 seats. In any case, it is worth noting that many airlines don’t actually pay list price, but around 50%.

Fuel efficiency

The 777 series is, of course, rather older than the 787, and it also uses heavier construction materials. Meanwhile, the Dreamliner is famous for being the first airliner with an airframe primarily made up of composite materials.


This contributes to it being a more efficient aircraft than its older counterpart. All I Know About Aviation reports that the 777 series typically consumes between 6,080 and 7,500 liters of fuel per hour, depending on the variant. Meanwhile, for the 787, this figure is generally between 4,900 and 5,600 liters per hour.

Airlines appreciate the 787’s high fuel efficiency, which leads to lower operating costs. Photo: Getty Images

In terms of capacity and, in most cases, range, the older 777 has the edge. However, with the 787 being cheaper to buy and operate, it represents a more comfortable financial decision for airlines. This is particularly pressing given the current challenging climate. From a passenger perspective, the 787’s modern cabin with its large, dimmable windows is also a bonus.

The current situation

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is continuing to impact the aviation industry, with long-haul services having been the most heavily-affected. Subsequently, hundreds of widebody aircraft remain on the ground worldwide.


As a result, last summer, Boeing shared that it would reduce 777 and 787 production. The firm noted that it would reduce the 787 production rate to six units a month this year. Moreover, it would reduce the combined production rate of the 777 and 777X to two planes per month.

JAL 777 Getty
Japan Airlines is one of several carriers being forced to reshuffle its fleet amid ongoing travel restrictions. Photo: Getty Images

However, with many of the world’s 777s aging, this type is looking to be the more significant casualty of the two widebodies. For instance, Japan Airlines decided to let go of its dedicated Boeing 777 domestic fleet last October. The Tokyo-based Japanese flag carrier is ultimately planning to retire its remaining international 777-200s and -300s within three years.

What the airlines say

Ultimately, what matters most is that those operating the jets think of their tools. Last year, United Airlines became the first carrier in the world to fly all three Dreamliner models. The Chicago-based outfit took on the 787-10 to serve on six transatlantic routes from its Newark Liberty International (EWR) hub.

United Airlines Boeing 787-10 San Francisco
United recently became the first airline to operate all three 787 variants. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

The airline highlights the plane’s ability to offer an improved customer experience, while also helping the company meet sustainability goals. Nonetheless, despite also having the 777, the firm isn’t showing any strong indication of retiring the type soon. According to a press release seen by Simple Flying, United said the following about the 787:

“Boeing’s Dreamliners are known for dramatically improving the on board experience for customers with lower cabin altitude, better humidity, cleaner air, smoother ride and better sound quality. Additionally, the new Dreamliner provides better fuel efficiency than older aircraft, contributing to United’s commitment to reducing emissions by 50 percent by 2050.”

British Airways Boeing 777-336(ER) G-STBA
British Airways is a big fan of the Boeing 777-300ER. However, it also operates all three of the 787 variants. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Even though it is an older design, airlines are continuing to receive the 777-300ER. Last November, British Airways took delivery of yet another example, and the airline’s crew members are fans of the plane. Allister Bridger, who would become director of flight operations for British Airways, previously said the following about the -300ER in a statement seen by Simple Flying:

“I think this aircraft is vitally important for the fleet, it’s a wonderful aircraft – pilots love it, it is very fuel efficient and hugely comfortable for customers.”

What about the Boeing 777X?

It is also worth briefly touching on the prospects for the Boeing 777X. After all, last year, Boeing confirmed that both the 777-8 and 777-9 aircraft would be certified as part of the 777 family. It was previously speculated that the widebody would have a separate type certificate. However, Boeing has since shared that this would not be the case for the highly-anticipated project.

Boeing 777X
The 777X is likely to shake up the long-haul market when it arrives later in the decade. Photo: Getty Images

Despite taking its first test flight in January 2020, the 777X has not yet been introduced commercially. Therefore, we will not be in a position to properly compare it to the 787 until its entry into service. This is currently expected to occur towards the middle of the decade.

Dependent on an airline’s wants and needs

Altogether, deciding between the Boeing 777 and 787 comes down to an individual airline’s various wants and needs. Different carriers have different requirements, meaning that they will consider each aircraft’s selling points with different levels of regard.

If an airline can continue to operate long-range, high-capacity flights in the modern climate consistently, then the 777-300ER may be the better option. However, if the range of these services remains within the 787-10’s capabilities, and trends continue to move away from higher-capacity flights, the Dreamliner could be the more straightforward choice.

Which aircraft do you prefer out of the Boeing 777 and 787? Have you flown on either, or both, of them over the years, and, if so, with which airline(s)? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!

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Wow: Virgin Australia Sells 71,000 Domestic Tickets In 24 Hours





Virgin Australia experienced one of its busiest days of domestic ticket sales in 20 years just after the Australian government’s A$1.2 billion (US$920 million) stimulus package went into effect. The enthusiasm was sparked by half-price flights offered on subsidized routes, which included flights to the Gold Coast from the cities of Melbourne and Sydney, among others.

Like other Australian carriers, Virgin Australia’s flight operations have been severely limited over the past year. Photo: Getty Images

71,000 tickets sold in 24 hours

Within the span of a full day, Virgin Australia sold enough tickets to completely fill over 400 of its Boeing 737-800s (which have 176 seats each). The hottest tickets were for subsidized routes, for which the airline halved its standard prices.

Swept up in the momentum and also experiencing large jumps in ticket purchases were other ‘full-price’ routes, which included Melbourne-Perth, Perth-Sydney, and Melbourne-Sydney.

“The overwhelming response from Australians demonstrates loud and clear that they are ready to get back in the air and travel and are a positive sign for the aviation and tourism sectors as they look to recover from the impacts of COVID-19,” -Virgin Australia statement via

While Virgin Australia had the record-breaking day, The Islander reports that the country’s other airlines saw spikes in web searches during the same period. Searches for “Qantas”, “Jetstar,” and “Virgin” sharply increased from around midnight Thursday and spiking again at 06:00 Australian Eastern Daylight Time.

Both Qantas and Virgin Australia will benefit from the Australian government’s stimulus package. Photo: Simon_sees via Flickr 

The Australian government’s stimulus package

Announced in early March, the government support package includes A$200 million (US$152.6 million) for Qantas and Virgin Australia. Reuters notes that this funding will support the airlines from April to October, with the intent to help maintain mothballed aircraft as well as bring planes out of storage and support wages for international flying staff.

Another major part of the scheme, and the main reason for this story, is the government subsidization of 13 routes. Subsidization has meant that eligible airlines can offer half-price tickets. The impetus for the deal was to support airlines while encouraging domestic tourism at a time when international tourism has been hard hit. According to The Guardian, the routes are as follows:


  • Sydney: flights to the Gold Coast, Cairns, Proserpine, Hamilton Island, Maroochydore, Uluru, Alice Springs, Launceston, Broome, and Avalon.
  • Melbourne: flights to the Gold Coast, Cairns, Maroochydore, Alice Springs, Uluru, Launceston, Devonport, Burnie, Broome, and Merimbula.
  • Adelaide: flights to the Gold Coast, Maroochydore, Alice Springs, and Kangaroo Island.
  • Brisbane: flights to Alice Springs, Uluru, and Launceston.
  • Darwin: flights to Cairns and Broome.
  • Perth: flights to Alice Springs.
  • Avalon: flights to the Gold Coast

The half-price fares were made available on April 1st and will continue to be offered until the end of July.

Having recently divested itself of its widebody Boeing 777s and Airbus A330s, Virgin Australia’s fleet is now completely comprised of Boeing 737s. Photo: Aero_Icarus via Flickr 

Hope for the best, plan for the worst

One key concern when it comes to domestic flight bookings is the ever-present risk of interstate border closures in the event of an outbreak during this global health crisis. While it’s hard to resist a good deal, it’s also wise to consider the possibility of such unwelcomed restrictions. Having flight bookings with flexible re-booking and cancelation policies will help greatly if such restrictions arise.


Were you a lucky Australian resident who managed to secure a half-priced flight? Or did you try and miss out? Share your experience with us in the comments.

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US Congressmen Call On DOT To Deny Norse Atlantic Airways Permits





The Chair of the US House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Peter DeFazio, and Chair of the Subcommittee on Aviation, Rick Larsen, have called on the US Department of Transportation (DOT) to deny permits for Norse Atlantic Airways to fly to the United States, citing concerns about the airline.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Takes First Test Flight
Norse Atlantic wants to fly to the US with Boeing 787s, but it has ruffled some feathers. Photo: Getty Images

Members of Congress on Norse Atlantic Airways

Rep. DeFazio, a Democrat from Oregon, and Rep. Larsen, a Democrat from Washington State, have called on the DOT to deny Norse Atlantic Airways Operating permits on account that it is flouting labor protections.

Drawing on earlier language indicating opposition to the airline, Reps. DeFazio and Larsen have argued that, by organizing itself in a country outside of Norway, where there are strong labor laws, the airline is seeking to flout those laws.

Norwegian selling two 787s to Neos Air
Norwegian also used subsidiaries in other countries, which is a concern highlighted in the letter. Photo: Getty Images

Drawing strong comparisons with Norwegian

The two Congressmen believe the airline is doing this because one of its executives was a former executive at Norwegian, which used Irish and UK subsidiaries to operate long-haul low-cost flights between the US and Europe.

In the letter, the Congressman stated the following:

“Their long-haul low-cost business model was predicated on the use of pilots and flight attendants employed under short-term contracts and assigned to the Norwegian subsidiaries via third-party crew sourcing firms. In short, Norwegian exploited labor while enjoying the liberalized benefits of the U.S.-E.U.-Iceland-Norway open skies agreement and competing unfairly with airlines that do not subvert fair labor standards.”

Norwegian 787
Norwegian recently announced it would be ending long-haul operations. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Using Norwegian as a warning

The letter also urged the DOT to consider that Norwegian failed in its transatlantic operations. Between 2016 and 2019, the letter states that Norwegian incurred debt of nearly $7 billion.


Norwegian is currently under bankruptcy proceedings in Europe and has decided to shut down its long-haul routes and focus on its flights within Europe.

Norwegian made a huge splash when it started transatlantic operations in 2016 between the US and Europe. Using a fleet of mostly Boeing 787 aircraft, the airline brought large numbers of customers across the pond.


Norse Atlantic Airways has already indicated it will operate a similar model, using Boeing 787 aircraft it has signed leases for.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner
The Dreamliner is an efficient long-haul aircraft. Photo: Getty Images

US airlines breathed a sigh of relief

When Norwegian came into the transatlantic market, it followed its initial routes with plenty of growth. That growth put pressure on US airlines.

Now, without Norwegian in the market, airlines are breathing a sigh of relief. Without that low-cost competition in the market, airlines like United are bullish on their international exposure. Without Norwegian in the market, there is also room for plenty of existing airlines to move toward higher-yield transatlantic operations.

Norwegian 787
Norse will need to do what Norwegian could not: make long-haul operations profitable. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

The return of transatlantic demand will depend greatly on the removal of travel restrictions between the US and Europe. Most airlines are focused on cargo with low passenger loads on flights to Europe currently. Only essential travel is permitted between the two areas.

Norse Atlantic is a startup to watch. It has the opportunity to massively grow to the size of Norwegian’s long-haul operations before it shut down, but doing so may come at a high cost and low profitability. It will have to make the long-haul low-cost model work to be successful.

For now, it is a waiting game to see how the DOT will respond to Norse Atlantic. US Congressmen are coming down on the side of the US airline industry, but the DOT may end up granting Norse Atlantic operating permission.

Do you think Norse Atlantic Airways should be allowed to operate between the US and Europe? Let us know in the comments!

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Frontier Launches IPO – How Can The Airline Benefit?





American ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC) Frontier Airlines has officially gone public. Pricing out at the lower end of its target share price, the airline is still expecting to raise over $200 million from the endeavor. Here is a look at how that could benefit the airline.

Frontier Airbus A320
Frontier Airlines is set to benefit from its IPO. Photo: Frontier Airlines

Frontier’s initial public offering pricing

Frontier Airlines announced its initial public offering of 30 million shares at a price of $19 per share. This was toward the lower end of the initial pricing for Frontier’s shares. The share consists of 15 million shares of commons tock offered by Frontier and 15 million shares of common stock to be sold by certain of Frontier’s existing stockholders.

Less the underwriting discount, commissions, and estimated offering expenses, Frontier will net proceeds of approximately $266 million. The sale of stock by the existing stakeholders will not raise Frontier cash. Overall, the net proceeds to both Frontier and the private stakeholders is expected to be over $500 million.

Frontier IPO
Frontier is now trading on the stock market. Photo: Frontier Airlines

The airline is being traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker “ULCC.” Since going public, the airline’s stock price has hovered between $18 and $19 a share.

The net proceeds

The amount that Frontier expects to receive is around $266 million. This is a respectable amount similar to the funding another airline IPO, Sun Country, received.

With $266 million, the airline can do plenty of things. Frontier ended 2020 with long-term debt of over $300 million. The airline can choose to pay down some of its high-cost debt with these proceeds. Or else, the money can be used to fuel expansion. The airline sees plenty of growth opportunities and has a sizable aircraft order book which costs money, and this funding can go a long way.


Frontier A320
There is a lot Frontier can do with this money. Photo: Frontier Airlines

The current state at Frontier

Frontier Airlines is one of the carriers leading the way with capacity increases through the year. The airline’s top stations are Denver, Orlando, and Las Vegas. These are major leisure travel hotspots, but some of them also provide opportunities for Frontier to sell connecting flights.

Frontier serves over 300 nonstop routes touching around 110 airports. Using a low-frequency model, the airline targets mostly point-to-point leisure travelers.


Frontier also sees plenty of room for growth. In the airline’s initial filing for an IPO, the carrier highlighted it had an opportunity to serve 518 additional domestic routes between airports within its existing network not currently served by a ULCC. This is a fascinating number, but it also raises the question of Frontier’s expansion.

Frontier AIrcraft
Frontier is a ULCC that generally operates on a low-frequency, point-to-point model. Photo: Getty Images

In the past, Frontier has not been very hesitant in terms of adding new cities and then cutting them if those flights do not provide the anticipated financial benefits. Moving forward, Frontier will face shareholders and stockholders that may temper some of those ambitions, but the carrier is still expected to add new routes. This is especially true as signs continue to point toward a summer surge, and the CDC outlines guidelines for vaccinated Americans to travel.

The airline is already making moves to become a more modern, fuel-efficient carrier with an eye on costs. The aging and comparatively expensive Airbus A319s will exit the fleet this year as the airline welcomes newer Airbus A320neo family aircraft. Those new jets will also feature lighter-weight seats that will save on fuel, which in turn saves on Frontier’s costs.

Frontier A320neo
Frontier has started taking delivery of aircraft with new seats inside. Photo: Frontier Airlines

Ultimately, Frontier has set itself up to do well in the future. The net proceeds from this IPO will go a long way in getting Frontier the cash influx it needs to survive the next few months and prepare to handle the increase in passengers expected over the summer. As the US airline industry starts to turn the page on the crisis, Frontier is expected to be one carrier that benefits early on from its mostly domestic and short-haul international leisure-oriented model.

Do you think Frontier made the right decision by launching an IPO? Let us know in the comments!

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Cheap ticket deal breaks Virgin’s all-time record, despite lockdown




Virgin Australia 737-8FE(WL) Brisbane Airport VH-YIB
‘Trinity Beach’ arriving into Brisbane Airport as ‘VA957’ in some windy and overcast conditions. 1/10th sec pan for those who are interested.

Virgin sold more domestic tickets on the launch day of the government’s half-price ticket scheme than on any 24-hour period in its history.

The result came despite fears Brisbane’s recent snap lockdown, which ended on Thursday, would put people off interstate travel.

Domestic aviation has been pinning its recovery hopes on the federal government’s plan to supplement 800,000 half-price airfares for passengers to 15 destinations including the Gold Coast, Alice Springs and Kangaroo Island. It follows the end of JobKeeper last week.

Virgin said in a statement it sold 71,000 supplemented seats in the 24-hour period from 12:01am on 1 April. The top five routes were:

  • Melbourne to Gold Coast
  • Gold Coast to Sydney
  • Maroochydore to Melbourne
  • Cairns to Sydney
  • Adelaide to Melbourne

Destinations not in the scheme also received a “significant boost”, in particular, Melbourne to Perth, Perth to Sydney and Melbourne to Sydney.

“The overwhelming response from Australians demonstrates loud and clear that they are ready to get back in the air and travel and are a positive sign for the aviation and tourism sectors as they look to recover from the impacts of COVID-19,” said the business in a statement.

“As a sign of renewed confidence and pent-up travel demand for travel, more than 85 per cent of the new bookings have been booked for travel from May onwards.”


Skyscanner also said direct interest in booking on Thursday were 25 per cent higher than the week prior, while web searches for “Qantas”, “Jetstar” and “Virgin” also leapt six-fold.

Greater Brisbane lifted its snap lockdown on Thursday at noon, following the state recording just one new case of community transmission.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk did though announce a slight increase in restrictions, which will require residents to wear masks indoors and a limit of indoor gatherings to 30.

The good news came shortly before NSW announced no new local infections across the state, too.

The half-price ticket scheme saw Virgin announcing fares from just $55 between Melbourne-Launceston and Jetstar offering tickets from just $32 between Adelaide and Avalon.

The updated list of destinations now includes Cairns, Townsville, Whitsunday Coast/Hamilton Island, Sunshine Coast, Darwin, Alice Springs, Hobart, Launceston, Devonport, Broome, Avalon, Merimbula, Adelaide, Kangaroo Island and the Gold Coast.

The fares are on sale until the end of July for travel until the end of September, with discounts applied automatically.

Both airline groups have also topped up the 15 locations with sales to other destinations and also extended fare flexibility in light of recent uncertainty.

The package of measures to support aviation in Australia also includes a new wage subsidy for those working in international aviation; cheap loans to small business coming off JobKeeper; and a six-month extension of the ‘RANS’ and ‘DANS’ supplemented routes initiative.

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