After a delay due to weather, the first Boeing 777X – a Boeing 777-9 took off on its maiden flight today.
The aircraft – WH001 – completed its maiden flight of 3 hours and 51 minutes – leaving Paine Field in Everett at 10:09PST, with the aircraft completing its flight at Boeing Field (King County International Airport) at 14:00 local time.
The Boeing 777X is a development of the Boeing 777 family. New this generation are folding wingtip (to extend the wing), a new composite wing design, new engines (powered by the General Electric GE9X turbofans).
The plane will also feature a slightly wider internal passenger space thank to thinner sidewalls and new isolation. There will also be larger windows, a lower internal atmospheric pressure (akin to the Boeing 787’s 6000ft feeling – so your skin doesn’t dry out as much).
However, those thinner sidewalls are for a purpose – to make a 10 across cabin “comfortable” in economy class. And yes, Boeing will offer 10 across seating in the back of the aircraft as standard.
Plans call for two subtypes in the 777X Family – the 777-8 and the 777-9 – the -8 being range optimised at a predicted 8,730nmi, whilst the payload optimised -9 will have a lower range of 7,285nmi – however, the order book is rather thin for the 777-8, with customers so far ordering the 777-9.
Passenger numbers are 384 aboard a 777-8, and 426 on a 777-9 (based on a two-cabin configuration and 10 across economy class seating).
Who is ordering the type?
There are some big names in the mix for this new twin-aisle widebody, with Lufthansa (launch customer) followed Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Qatar Airways, All Nippon Airlines, Singapore Airlines and British Airways all lodging confirmed orders.
— Boeing Airplanes (@BoeingAirplanes) January 25, 2020
Other orders exist from Etihad (although if you can work out their strategy these days… you’re doing a lot better than a lot of people) and some from everyone favourite airline “Undisclosed Customer”.
Currently, 309 frames are on order.
With the first flight done and dusted, Boeing has the challenge of bringing this programme back on track after numerous delays – some outside its control.
For now, getting the aircraft through heightened safety regulations and ensuring it is safe to produce serially and can carry passengers aboard will be key.
A first flight is also a call to action to the sales teams – to start selling this product. The product that is not as a concept- but an actual flying product. And airlines will be more than curious, with over 60 Boeing 777 operators out there already.
Boeing is targeting Delivery to Customers and Entry Into Service in 2021 – providing all the regulatory requirements are met.
It will be interesting to see if they hit that target. After all – Its customers are waiting.
Images – All via the The Boeing Company Live Stream.
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