The Boeing 777X could take its first test flight in just three weeks’ time. Boeing’s CEO, Dennis Muilenburg, has earmarked the 21st June as a potential test day, although he warns that this could be moved on into early July. Boeing still expect the 777X to enter service in 2020, and are positive about the new NMA, the 797, for 2025 too.
At long last, we have a provisional date for the first test flight of the eagerly anticipated Boeing 777X. According to sources who spoke with Reuters, the test flight is slated for late June, with a view to putting the new aircraft into service in 2020.
This is slightly later than originally planned, as Boeing had hoped to fly the plane to the Paris Airshow next month, in a bid to cause a stir right in the back yard of Airbus. Delays are being blamed on the US Government shutdown earlier this year, as well as delays on the composite wings and GE9X engines.
Boeing have also been struggling with resources as they divert attention to the grounded 737 MAX. The US plane maker said they are working towards a first flight date of June 21st but have warned that the ‘window’ could stretch into early July.
The timeline for the 777X
Dubbed by some a ‘mini jumbo’, the 777X promises to rival the A350-1000 in terms of passenger capacity, and with potentially greater range than its rival too.
Currently, the first two 777X out of the factory have left Seattle and are undergoing system testing on the ground. The next two 777X test aircraft are in the final stages of assembly.
If all goes to plan, the first test flights could begin as early as June 21st. This would come sadly too late for any appearance at the Paris Airshow, but would keep the production itinerary on schedule for certification by the end of the year.
Of course, questions have been raised about how the 737 MAX situation could impact the certification timeline of the 777X too. On this, Muilenburg said that there may be downstream impacts, but overall, he remains positive about the future:
“I don’t see anything there right now that will alter the timeline for the 777X, but it’s possible we will see something that will alter the content of the test program or how we go about certification and training,”
Repairing the damage of the 737 MAX
CEO Dennis Muilenburg has said that he doesn’t blame airlines for seeking compensation in relation to the grounding. In fact, he is reported by Avionics International as saying it’s all part of the plan. Speaking at Bernstein’s 35th annual Strategic Decisions Conference Wednesday morning, he said:
“We’re working with individual customers Obviously, our customers’ fleet schedules have been interrupted by the MAX, and we regret that. We know we’ve impacted the summer schedules for many of them, and it’s difficult, it’s painful.”
According to the CEO, Boeing are working to satisfy particular needs of individual customers, with restitution ranging from expedited deliveries to deliveries being pushed back. He also alluded to unique Boeing ‘currencies’ they could offer as part of a compensation package, such as training support or services. He has also admitted that cash may be part of the deal.
Muilenburg is upbeat about the Boeing reputation in general, saying that demand for their aircraft remains strong. They estimate that airlines will need some 43,000 aircraft over the next few decades. The CEO is quoted by Flight Global as saying:
“We see a very solid aerospace market. We see another significant widebody replacement wave coming sometime in the next decade. The 787 and 777X are both well positioned.”
The company still expects a 2020 entry to service for the 777X and a 2025 entry into service for their much anticipated NMA aircraft, dubbed the 797.