The first Boeing 777-300ER (Extended Range) for TAAG, Angola’s flag carrier, moved one step closer to completion as the aircraft completed final assembly at Boeing’s plant in Washington.
“TAAG is the first airline in all of Africa to purchase, own and operate the Boeing 777-300ER,” said TAAG Chairman Dr. Antonio Luis Pimentel Araujo. “All of Angola can take great pride knowing that the country’s biggest airline will continue to write history as we move closer to introducing this new airplane to Angola and our valued customers around the world.”
After installing the aircraft’s landing gear and then joining the forward- and aft-fuselage sections together with the wing and body assembly, the aircraft rolled forward to final assembly in Boeing’s Everett factory. During the final assembly process, functional tests were performed and the engines and most of the airplane’s interior were installed.
The aircraft then rolled out of the factory to the paint hangar to be painted in TAAG’s signature livery with the rare Palanca Negra antelope on the tail.
TAAG will use the airplanes for route expansion to additional destinations including direct routes to Beijing. The airline also is preparing its application to fly the new 777 into the United States. TAAG ordered two 777-300ERs with purchase rights for two additional 777-300ERs in April last year.
TAAG currently flies Boeing 777-200ERs from Luanda, Angola, to Lisbon 10 times weekly, to Beijing via Dubai twice weekly, Sao Paulo four times daily and to Rio de Janeiro four times weekly.
“The Boeing 777-300ER is recognized by airlines and passengers alike as the No. 1 choice for long-distance travel. These two 777s will add to our current fleet of 777s so that we can expand our premium service offerings to Europe,” Dr. Araujo said.
In 2005, TAAG ordered three Boeing 777-200ERs and four Boeing 737-700s with the intention that these aircraft replace TAAG’s ageing fleet of Boeing 747-300s and Boeing 737-200s. However, the new aircraft were added to TAAG’s fleet.
On 11 November 2006, two Boeing 777s and three 737s were delivered to TAAG. They immediately placed the 777s on the Luanda – Lisbon, Johannesburg, and Paris routes. In October 2009, TAAG began 777 flights to Rio de Janeiro from Luanda. This occurred after TAAG acquired the necessary certification to operate these flights.