While airlines may not be overly perturbed by the delay of aircraft deliveries at the moment, aviation enthusiasts all over the world eagerly await the entry into service of Boeing’s 777X. Let’s take a look at what we know about European launch customer Lufthansa’s expected fleet of 20 777-9s.
While initially intended to join Lufthansa’s fleet next year, Boeing’s new flagship widebody is now scheduled to arrive in 2022. As late as July, the German flag-carrier still maintained that it expected to take delivery of the aircraft next summer. However, the force majeure of the current situation has compelled Boeing to push the date back further.
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily aviation news digest.
The third 777X to join Boeing’s test program took its first flight at the beginning of August. Just a few days later, the manufacturer confirmed that the plane would go to Lufthansa. But what do we know so far of the aircraft that Lufthansa is waiting for?
Twenty 777-9s to join the fleet
Lufthansa first placed an order for 34 of the new version of the “triple seven.” However, in November last year, it converted 14 of these to options. This leaves the carrier with 20 on firm order that are to be delivered over the following years, hopefully beginning in 2022.
The reason for the juggle was a bid to lower operational costs and cut down on overall capacity. Of course, any concerns of a year ago now pale in comparison to the challenges that have arisen in 2020.
Meanwhile, Lufthansa is still on board for at least 20 of the 777X. The longer 777-9, to be precise. The plane is 76.7 meters long, measures 71.8 meters over the wings (64.8 meters when the tips are folded), and has a height of 19.5 meters. It has a maximum take-off weight of 351,500 kg and a range of 14,000 km.
400 seat layout featuring new business
While the 777-9 can seat 426 passengers, Lufthansa’s layout will feature 400, although the exact cabin configuration is yet unknown. What we do know is that it will have what is probably the most exciting new feature of the airline’s expected addition. Once the 777-9 joins the fleet, Lufthansa’s premium customers will be able to enjoy the carrier’s brand new business class cabin.
Making full use of the 777X’s broader cabin, Lufthansa has designed the new business class layout so that all passengers will have direct access to the aisle from their seat. Due to the alternating 1-1-1 and 1-2-1 row setup, some passengers can be closer to the window while others will have a larger workspace available. Others still will have aisles on both sides. Now that is a very different middle seat. Some seats will have longer beds, and others provide more storage.
More than that, the new business product will also let passengers control all the features of their seats with their smartphone. The smartphone, along with other devices, can be charged by placing them onto a charging surface, rather than connecting them to a USB gate.
Lufthansa will also roll out its new premium economy on the 777-9s. This will feature large IFE seatback screens and dividers between seats for privacy, which seem strangely apt considering the dividing partitions imagined by some to become a new feature to lower the risk of row-companion contagion.
Are you excited to fly on the 777X when it finally arrives? Would you choose Lufthansa as an airline, especially to get to do so? Let us know in the comments.