B-777 Takes On Energizer Bunny, A380 Restrained By Girth

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As technological achievements go, the new Boeing 777-200LR may set a new standard for range and efficiency. Using lighter materials and more efficient engines, Boeing engineers were able to create a plane that can fly more than 10,000 miles nonstop. Now, they just have to come up with passengers and crew that can take 20 hours or more of confinement in the aluminum tube. The new plane is expected to be used by airlines to service less-important long-distance routes, such as Edinburgh to Perth, Australia, and Manchester to Shanghai. The busier routes are expected to be dominated by the new Airbus A380, although it won't be making many stops in the U.S. anytime soon. The 555-to-800-seat behemoth is simply too big for most U.S. airports. So far only JFK, Miami, San Francisco and Los Angeles are working on accommodating passengers from the super jumbo. Anchorage and Memphis want the cargo version to land there. From an airside perspective, the main problem is the wingspan of more than 250 feet, which will overlap runways and taxiways. Concerns also exist over runways, taxiways, bridges and support structures that might not stand the weight, either. Once it gets to the gate, terminals will have to be renovated to accommodate the burst of traffic.