Photo: Charles Cunliffe
The first original prototype Boeing 777-200 – B-HNL retired on June 1st, after 18 years of service with Cathay Pacific. The aircraft will be sent to Museum of Flight at Boeing Field – fittingly the same place where the first Boeing 777-300 was handed over.
In the 1990s, Cathay Pacific was one of eight airlines to provide input for the 777 at the design stage, which gave the airline a unique opportunity to refine the aircraft’s features to suit its needs. Among the requests were a cabin cross-section similar to the 747 Jumbo Jet, capacity for at least 325 passengers, a modern ‘glass’ cockpit, fly-by-wire system and, crucially, lower operating costs.
The result was one of the most successful wide-body aircraft ever built. To date, more than 1,500 aircraft have been manufactured.
The first iteration, the 777-200, was delivered to United Airlines in 1995. Three years later, Cathay Pacific received the first 777-300, which was essentially the ‘stretch’ version of the -200 on 21 May 1998.
Cathay Pacific went on to own and operate the original prototype Boeing 777-200 – B-HNL, which retired and will take her place in the Museum of Flight along with first of the Boeing Airplanes models, B727, B737, B747 and B777.