Boeing is ultimately the 777’s manufacturer, but many of its individual parts and pieces are provided by external suppliers that collaborate with the airframe manufacturer to produce the finished aircraft. This extends to the aircraft’s engines; although Boeing collaborates closely with its propulsion manufacturers, the engines that power all of the company’s aircraft are engineered and produced by other companies.
In this article, I will look at who makes engines for the Triple Seven as well as the engines that each variant is available with.
Do All Boeing 777s Use the Same Engine?
The Boeing 777 family includes several variants, like the -200, -200ER, -200LR, -300, -300ER, 777F, and 777X.
As the 777 serves and adapts to varying missions and customer requirements, it utilizes different engines for different applications. Some end-users may prioritize maximum range, while others prioritize higher takeoff weight capabilities, for example.
Thus, a variety of engines, produced by several different companies, can be found on 777s around the world.
Who Makes Engines for Boeing 777?
Engines found on the Boeing 777 over the years include models produced by several companies, all of which were involved when the first 777 entered service in 1995. Available engines at the time were produced by General Electric, Pratt & Whitney, and Rolls-Royce.
This gave customers the ability to shop engines competitively while, somewhat informally, giving those manufacturers a chance to prove their technologies before Boeing primarily narrowed down available engines to those produced by GE Aerospace.
Boeing 777 Engines by Variant
The triple seven took its first flight in 1994 and commenced commercial service in 1995, and has since taken the form of eight major commercial variants, each with their own unique aims that are best serviced by specific engines.
The -200 series completed its maiden flight on June 12, 1994, marking the first flight of any Boeing 777. The -200 mainly targeted domestic carriers in the US – United Airlines being the first to take delivery – although examples of the variant were sold globally. As of 2019, the -200 series is no longer marketed, although some are still operated by carriers around the world.
Propulsion options for the -200 variant included engines produced by General Electric, Pratt & Whitney, and Rolls-Royce. Each of these engines were developed to produce at least a 77,000 lbf (340 kN) thrust class, and thus the primary advantage to utilizing three propulsion manufacturers was to provide airlines with choices from competing companies
More specifically, the available engines were the General Electric GE90-77B, Pratt & Whitney PW4084, and Rolls-Royce Trent 877. General Electric’s engine was the least popular of the group, largely due to early gearbox issues as well as to a higher thrust rating than was required by most airlines at the time, also making it the heaviest and least efficient option. The Rolls-Royce Trent 877 was the most popular option.
Part of the same generation as the standard -200 variant, the -200ER was first delivered in 1997 and offered engine options from the same three manufacturers, including General Electric’s GE90-94B, Pratt & Whitney’s PW4000-112, and Rolls-Royce’s Trent 895.
The -200ER was designed to provide operators with an extended range and offered additional fuel capacities and higher maximum takeoff weights, ideally for use on transoceanic routes. As an operator of many such routes, British Airways was quick to place orders for the variant and was the -200ER’s first operator.
Each of the engines provided 93,700 lbf thrust ratings, although customers had the option to order de-rated versions with less thrust for shorter routes in order to lower the max takeoff weight, and thus also lower required fuel and landing fees.
Boeing’s 777-200LR (short for Long Range) commenced service in 2006 and is capable of flying routes between virtually any two major airports in the world. Unlike the -200 and -200ER, the -200LR was offered with only General Electric-produced engines; specifically, the GE90-110B1 and GE90-115B, capable of 110,760 lbf and 115,540 lbf thrust ratings, respectively.
The aircraft was designed for ultra long-haul routes and its first operator was Pakistan International Airlines.
Also part of the original 777 variants, the 777-300 made its first flight in 1995 and was essentially an extended capacity version of the -200. The -300 is 20% longer than the -200 and features much additional seating, with numbers varying depending on the class configuration, but topping out at a 550 seat capacity in all-economy configuration. Its first operator was Cathay Pacific.
The -300 was offered with Pratt & Whitney PW4090 and PW4098, Rolls-Royce Trent 892, and General Electric GE90-110B1 engines.
The Boeing 777-300ER was the extended range version of the high-capacity -300 variant, and as such, it offered a higher max takeoff weight and a higher range of 7,370 nautical miles. Like the -200LR, the -300ER was available with General Electric GE90-115B engines, producing 115,300 lbf max thrust.
First delivered to Air France in 2004, the 777-300ER is the best selling 777 variant to date and many airlines adopted the -300ER as a replacement for their 747-400s, given the -300ER’s 20% lower fuel burn and lower per-seat operating costs. These costs were also lower than the 777-300ER’s primary competitors in the market, the Airbus A340-600 and A350-1000, further contributing to the variant’s success in the market.
777 Freighter (“F”)
Boeing’s “F” variant of the 777 is a dedicated cargo aircraft based on the -200LR varient; its largest end-user is FedEx, though the variant’s first delivery was to Air France in 2009.
Like the -200LR, the 777F offers the option of either General Electric GE90-110B1 or GE90-115B engines, allowing customers to choose from two engine options that offer both long-range capabilities and high levels of thrust to allow for heavy loads.
777-300ERSF (“ER Special Freighter”)
Although not produced directly by Boeing, but rather by Israeli Aerospace Industries, the -300ERSF is a conversion model that takes existing -300ER passenger jets and turns them into freighters. The final converted aircraft use the same engines as the -300ER.
The 777X series is the next generation of 777 jets, with -200 and -300 variants being the “classic” models. The X program currently includes the 777-8 and -9 variants (including freighter versions), both of which utilize GE9X engines, supplied by GE Aviation.
Although they have not entered commercial service yet, Boeing says the X series jets aim to be the world’s largest and most efficient commercial twin-engine jets in production.
GE9X engines will be capable of up to 134,300 pounds of thrust – the highest rating in the world today. GE Aerospace says the new engines will provide up to 10% fuel savings compared to the GE90-115B, and 5% fuel savings compared to any other engine on the market that powers twin-aisle commercial jets.
Boeing’s 777 family consists of a large family of aircraft designed and produced over a 30 year span, and includes a still-growing number of variants that accommodate a wide range of end-user missions, as well as changing technologies.
These 777s utilize multiple generations of engines produced by three manufacturers, depending on the specific variant, in order to best match the roles they are intended to play for their operators.