August 12, 2014 5:14 pm JST

Boeing 777 picked as new "Japanese Air Force One"

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan picked the Boeing 777 aircraft on Tuesday as its new government aircraft for overseas trips by the prime minister and members of the imperial family.

     A pair of Boeing 777-300ERs -- which will start operational use in the fiscal year from April 2019, replacing the two B-747 aircraft currently in use -- will be maintained by All Nippon Airways Co., the government said.

     ANA outbid rival Japan Airlines Co. for the right to maintain the aircraft, which are known as "Japanese Air Force One."

     The selection of the B-777 aircraft, which will be operated by the Air Self-Defense Force, was finalized at a meeting of a government panel on Tuesday.

     The B-777s were chosen from aircraft that met a number of conditions set by the government, including the ability to fly nonstop to the East Coast of the United States, and being large enough for VIPs and their entourage as well as communications equipment to handle sensitive information.