Despite delays to the first flight of the Boeing 777X, the aircraft is still on track for a 2020 launch. A Boeing Representative yesterday told Simple Flying that the position has always been for a 2020 entry to service.
The Boeing 777X is the American manufacturer’s latest new product for its widebody fleet. The aircraft builds on the successful model of the Boeing 777, while adding some innovative features such as folding wing tips. With Lufthansa being the launch customer for the aircraft, it is reassuring to hear that the program is not looking delayed at present. While the first test aircraft rolled out of the Boeing factory in March, Lufthansa’s first 777X is currently in final assembly.
What we know so far
With the aircraft expecting to ship next year, we know a fair bit about what to expect from the Boeing 777X. The manufacturer is currently targeting selling two models; the 777-8 and the 777-9. A total of 344 777Xs have been ordered with the largest customer, Emirates, ordering 150.
While the 777-8 will carry 384 passengers over a distance of 8,690 nautical miles, the larger 777-9 will carry 426 passengers over 7,285 nautical miles. The list prices of the two aircraft are $410.2 million and $442.2 million respectively.
The aircraft is packed with new technology. While the massive GE9X provides the huge thrust needed to power the aircraft, the folding wingtips save wingspan at airports. Indeed, the aircraft’s wingspan drops by almost seven meters when they are folded. Meanwhile, inside passengers will notice comfort upgrades, such as windows taken from the 787. Hopefully, nobody will melt them!
Preparing for the flight test program
Simple Flying spoke to a Boeing representative who told us that they were preparing for the 777X’s flight test program. The spokesperson told us:
“The first 777X flight test airplane rolled out of the factory in March, 2019. We are working toward first flight later this year, to support entry into service in 2020. We’re progressing to and preparing for the flight test program.
“Teams are focusing on the final systems, propulsion and airplane-level tests necessary to confirm the safety of the airplane prior to flight, per our normal development process.”
3 and 4 in final assembly
The spokesperson went on to add:
“Static test airplane continues to perform well as it progresses through its testing. Flight Test Airplane #2 recently rolled of the Everett factory; airplanes 3 and 4 are currently in Final Assembly.
“The long-pole in the tent right now is the GE engine. We’ve previously shared there are some challenges. GE is working through its own testing. We’re having to do some retesting and we’re doing that together. We’re staying very close to this but this is still the current assumption.
While Boeing had intended to showcase the 777X at the Paris Air Show, this was unfortunately scuppered by the GE9X issue. By all accounts, however, it sounds as though the program is on track from Boeing’s point of view.
I can’t wait to see Lufthansa’s Boeing 777X gracing the skies above Frankfurt next year! What about you? Let us know in the comments!