KLM's "game-changing" 777 transformation: behind the scenes

Gordon Smith joins a special flight to Cape Town to meet some of the key players behind the project to overhaul the Dutch flag carrier’s widebody workhorse

At this summer’s Paris Air Show, the presence of the Boeing 777X – complete with its novel folding wingtips – emerged as one of Le Bourget’s most popular attractions. As Boeing executives will happily attest, the next-generation widebody has an impressive roll-call of future operators eager to leverage its improved performance and specifications; when the type finally enters revenue service, that is.

The cabin upgrades will be rolled out across both the Boeing 777-200ER and -300ER families.
The cabin upgrades will be rolled out across both the Boeing 777-200ER and -300ER families. AirTeamImages.com/Daan van der Heijden

While all eyes are on the much-delayed 777X programme, many existing customers of the original 777 platform are making wholesale improvements to their more mature -200 and -300 fleets. The latest carrier to take on the task is KLM, which is giving its mid-life models a major facelift. Acknowledging that the Amsterdam/Schiphol-based airline was starting to lag behind big-name rivals and even its own joint-venture partners, the result is a significant improvement to the cabins of its long-haul flagship from front to back.

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