Boeing’s next big aircraft, the Boeing 777X has been called everything from the next 747 to the Airbus A350 killer. But where is it? When will it fly? And why is everyone in and out of the industry excited for it?
Let’s answer the frequently asked questions and bring newcomers up to date on our favorite aircraft.
What makes the 777X so special?
The Boeing 777X represents the next step of large Boeing aircraft, the biggest since the 747 built over 50 years ago. This aircraft will be made of composite materials that made the 787 so famous, plus state of the art technologies not yet seen on an aircraft ever before!
In order for the aircraft to fit into normal airport gates, its massive wingspan will shink using special folding wing tips.
There will be two variants of the 777X:
- Boeing 777X-8 – 365 passengers to a range of 8,690 nmi / 16,090 km.
- Boeing 777X-9 – 414 passengers (42 in business and 372 in economy) to a range of 7,525 nmi / 13,940 km.
- There is also a proposed private version of the aircraft that can nearly fly anywhere in the world on a single tank.
Is the 777X delayed?
Now, you might think that the 777X is delayed because there has been very little news of late of its progress.
But this is actually not the case, with us reporting the following stories tracking its progress:
- In 2017 Boeing started to build test prototypes of the 777X. Models 1-6 would never fly but were more experiments to see how things would fit together, testing aerodynamics and to dry-run production processes.
- In 2018, Boeing started construction on models 7-8 intending for them to be the flight test models.
- In November 2018, the electronics were installed and switched on.
- In February 2019, the final structural engineering works were complete.
- March 8th saw the aircraft get its famous Boeing paint job.
- New Boeing 777X Engine Completes Final Test Flight on the 16th of May, 2019.
- And we are just around the corner of the first official flight tests…
When will the 777X fly?
Boeing has kept very hush when they will actually fly the aircraft (naturally they will try to pick a clear and sunny day for the first Boeing 777X test flight). But rumors from the Air Current have it in late June at the latest.
When will Boeing officially launch the 777X?
Boeing initially planned a vast fanfare launch, with industry experts and media invited to examine and inspect the new 777X up close. However, just before their event planning committee got underway, Boeing had a PR nightmare with their 737 MAX aircraft crashing in Indonesia and Africa.
Since then, Boeing has decided to just quietly reveal the aircraft to internal employees. Employees were allowed to walk around and see it from all angles, but not to go inside. This was because the internal structure of the plane is still quite bare, with the final fit-out depending on the customer it’s going to, speaking of which…
Who is the 777X launch customer?
Lufthansa has been the lucky airline ‘chosen’ to be the first 777X customer. They are expected to receive their aircraft by the end of the year, or early next year. Lufthansa originally made an order for 34 777X aircraft back in 2012 (which is ancient history for airlines) but downgraded it to 20 orders as the market changed. They intend the 777X to replace their aging fleet of 747 aircraft.
Lufthansa has gone with a very modern fit-out onboard, enough for them to win a five-star Skytrax rating despite it months away from release. The aircraft will feature a new business class product that comes with a ‘throne’ middle seat that will easily be the most popular on board.
The 777X series is based on the proven 777, which is already being flown by Lufthansa Cargo as a cargo version and by Austrian Airlines and Swiss as a passenger version. With a length of 76.6 meters and a width of 71.8 meters, the 777-9 far surpasses its predecessor and is currently the longest passenger aircraft in the world. – Markus Löhn, Lufthansa Group Representative at Boeing to Aviation Voice.
Overall, Boeing is treating the 777X as a ‘when it’s ready’ project when it comes to deadlines and is taking no chances for this aircraft to have any problems at launch.
Are you excited to fly on the new Boeing 777X? Let us know in the comments.