Used B777-200ER or A340-300?

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By Bjorn Fehrm


Nov. 26 2015, ©. Leeham Co: In recent articles we have latched on to the debate around the prices for used Boeing 777-200 aircraft. Contrary to the market appraising companies’ ideas about second hand values, our surveys show that not only the Airbus A340-300 is cheap in the market but the Boeing 777-200ER is also available at interesting prices.

This, coupled with sustained low fuel prices, makes for interesting opportunities. Charter destinations can be reached which were not possible with less competent aircraft and it is possible to lease or purchase these long range aircraft to backfill an expanding route network while awaiting or even postponing delivery of the latest technology aircraft.

We decided it was time to take a look at which of the two would be the better choice as a long hauler of 300 passengers to destinations of up to 5,000nm. We use our proprietary model to find out which one is the most suitable given different conditions, such as cabin makeover or not. We will also introduce aircraft deterioration to the calculations to map the reality of an older aircraft.

In this first article, we will establish the base values for the aircraft and find their cash operating costs. In a subsequent article, we will add capital costs where we will look at different purchase scenarios and refurbishing options and how these affect the overall direct operating costs.


  • The 777-200ER and A340-300 are very close in most dimensions.
  • The 777-200ER is the slightly larger and heavier aircraft. Thanks to more effective engines, it can compete on fuel costs.
  • When the other costs are added to make up cash operating costs, the higher weight and more expensive engines start to eat up any fuel cost advantages the 777-200ER has.

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