Swiss International Air Lines’ new long-haul aircraft touched down at Zurich airport on Friday accompanied by two fighter jets and welcomed by plane spotters, journalists and celebrities.
The Swiss carrier has ordered nine planes, which will eventually replace its Airbus A340 fleet.
The plane made a low pass over the runway with its fighter jet escorts before landing. The pilot waved a Swiss flag from the cockpit window and the aircraft was greeted by a convoy from the airport fire brigade.
The Boeing 777-300ER can carry 121 more passengers than the A340. While first and business classes are roomier than the A340, economy will be a tighter fit. The seat pitch is just under 79 cm, which is 2.5 cm smaller than the A340. Each row in economy will have ten seats in a three-four-three combination. One advantage is the 27 cm screen size for in-flight entertainment compared with 22 cm in the A340.
The Boeing 777 is also faster and has a longer range than the A340. Engine, weight and aerodynamic improvements mean it consumes 23% less fuel per passenger. Routes which the 777 will operate include Hong Kong, Los Angeles and Bangkok while São Paulo, San Francisco and Tel Aviv will be partly served by the new plane.
Swiss airlines fleet now operates three aircraft models: Boeing 777-300ER, Airbus A340-300 and Airbus A330-300.
swissinfo.ch and agencies