Boeing Confirms Its Updated 777X Wide-Body Won’t Fly Until Next Year
Boeing’s update to the venerable 777 will not fly until “early 2020,” said the company’s CEO Dennis Muilenburg.
The 777-9 aircraft, which was due to fly this year, is delayed due to issues with the GE Aviation GE9X engines, he said during the Chicago-based airframer’s second quarter earnings presentation on July 24.
“The airplane side of the equation is progressing on plan, and one of the cleanest development programs we’ve seen,” Muilenburg said of the 777X development.
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GE confirmed the issues with the engines at the Paris Air Show in June. The manufacturer is redesigning a static compressor part to make it more durable, executives said at the time.
The 777-8 and -9 aircraft feature, among other things, new engines, composite wings and a new folding wingtip that offer operating cost savings over existing 777 models. The smaller 777-8 can seat 384 passengers – roughly comparable to the 777-300ER – and the larger 777-9 can seat 426 passengers, both in a standard two-class configuration, according to Boeing.
Boeing touts the 777-9 as have an 11% better cash operating cost per seat than the competing Airbus A350-1000. The Airbus widebody, which entered service with Qatar Airways in February 2018, can seat up to 410 passengers in a standard three-class configuration, according to the jetmaker.
Muilenburg said Boeing remains on track to deliver the first 777-9 to Lufthansa before the end of 2020. However, he notes that if the engine issues persist that date could slip into 2021.
Boeing has 344 orders for 777-8 and -9 aircraft, including 150 from Emirates and 60 from Qatar Airways, the company’s orders and deliveries data shows.