Featured Map for 21 September 2015:
Delta's 777 Flying


Delta Air Lines flies two different types of Boeing 777-200. The 18 aircraft share a common cabin configuration:

The specifications and capabilities of the aircraft are quite different, though:
777-232ER656,000430,0007,423RR Trent 8927 in 1999, 1 in 2002
777-232LR766,000461,0009,016GE GE90-110B110 in 2008-2010
As might be expected, the longer-range 777-200LR is used on the two longest missions, from Atlanta to Johannesburg and Dubai. Besides distance, the return flights on these routes are challenging due to high field elevation at JNB and high density altitude at DXB due to heat, compounded by prevailing headwinds.

Delta also uses the 777-200LR on their third-longest 777 route, from Los Angeles to Sydney. United uses the 777-200ER on this route, with exactly the same number of seats though different engines. Delta may use the 777-200LR to gain greater belly-cargo lift, or simply because there are enough shorter missions to fully use Delta's 777-200ER fleet.

Curiously, Delta's shortest 777 mission at just 971 nm, from Tokyo to Shanghai, also uses the 777-200LR. This peculiarity can be explained by two observations. First, all seven of Delta's NRT arrivals are schedule to arrive between about 2:45 pm and 3:25 pm, with the departing bank between 4:25 pm and 5:30 pm. This schedule has NRT-LAX arriving late morning, with the return departing a bit after noon. Second, LAX-SYD departs 11.5 hours after the arrival of the NRT-LAX flight, which would result in an excessive dwell time if the same aircraft were used for both flights. By instead using the 777-200LR to fly NRT-PVG-LAX Delta gets better utilization of the airframe, and may benefit a bit from greater cargo lift out of PVG.

The 777-200ER flying is much simpler: all out-and-back from NRT except for one, the flight from New York to Tel Aviv. The schedule has one aircraft on the ground at Minneapolis-St. Paul for over 23 hours but this time is likely used for routine maintenance such as an A check. Other than these two trips all of the 777-200ER round-trips from Tokyo are short enough to be accomplished within the ~22 hours between banks.

Today's Featured Map shows Delta's 777-200ER routes in navy blue and 777-200LR routes in red.

References and additional information:


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