The first Boeing 777X is now rumored to be taking a test flight on June 26th. The aviation industry is becoming more excited by the minute about this latest release by Boeing. But what’s so good about the plane.
Last week, Boeing said that the first test flight of the 777X would take place on the 21st of June. However, CEO Muilenburg admitted that this was the start of a ‘window’ for the test flight. Warning that it could be as late as early July before it actually happened.
It now seems there is a slightly firmer date in the calendar, as Emirates CEO Tim Clark revealed at the IATA AGM in Seoul this week. Although Emirates is not the launch customer for the 777X (that’s Lufthansa, by the way), they are expected to be one of the first to receive their 777X.
The massive engines
The 777-9, the first of the X family to be released, features the largest engines ever seen on an aircraft. With their position beneath those epic carbon-fiber wings. The whole picture will certainly be a sight for sore eyes.
Lower fares, possibly?
Boeing estimates the 777X to be, on average, 10% cheaper to operate than the A350-1000. Their website states that the 777-8 will offer 4% lower operating costs, and the 777-9 up to 11% lower costs. They also say it will be 12% more fuel-efficient.
While manufacturer statements need to be taken with a pinch of salt until real-world testing takes place, this is an interesting notion to consider. If it is indeed true, overall lower operating costs could see the price of long-haul flying driven down, as well as keeping airlines in a profitable state of affairs.
Probably the most exciting element of the 777X for any regular flyer will be the superb passenger experience on offer. Although individual airlines will have their own specifications for seating products and cabin layouts. We already know that Boeing has taken much of the comfort technology from the Dreamliner and applied it to the 777X too.
Add to this the massive range of the 777X, making trips like New York to Auckland, Dubai to Buenos Aires, and London to Honolulu an easy hop. And the options for travel are wide open too. We can’t wait to see the first 777X make its test flight and to see which routes it will serve.
Boeing 777X Folding Wingtips
The design for the 777 9 which will be the launch variant was finalized on 03 September 2015. This was after tirelessly consulting with customers and suppliers to arrive at final design parameters which will be carried forward to the targeted launch date sometime in 2020.
777X_folding_wing_tip, The 777X will benefit from new technologies that have been brought about in the creation of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The Boeing 777X will have folding wingtips when not in flight so that airport gates will not have to be modified.
Improvements that will be evident to the traveling public will come in the form of a modernized cabin with features such as larger windows, a wider cabin, and improved lighting.
Boeing 777X Operating Economy
Airlines will be very keen to note the vast improvement in operating costs of this Boeing 777 jet. The fuel-saving over its nearest competitors is expected to be around 12 percent. In addition, a 10 percent improvement in operating costs is expected through standardization of parts, etc.
How are these savings made possible?
The Boeing 777X will be using a higher proportion of composite materials in construction than the current model, in line with improvements in technology.
This will reduce weight and increase strength. The Boeing 777X will also be using the world’s most advanced jet engine, namely the General Electric GE9X. This engine is expected to deliver a 5 percent increase in efficiency, which will contribute to the lower operating cost.
One of the last
Coming back to the question, is the 777X the last of its kind? The answer is no, but it is one of the last. As airlines push for smaller planes that can go further, the size of aircraft will continue to shrink without huge changes in engine technology. Expect to see more planes like the 787 and A321XLR in the future than the 777X.
The first sign that the 777X is likely to be one of the last of its kind is that Airbus is not working on a clean-sheet competitor today. Instead, we might see a re-engined version of the A350 as the competitor. However, that doesn’t mean things will change in the future, but only that the A321XLR is the priority for now.
This is reflected in order numbers for the 777X. The smaller 777-8 has seen few orders, leading to news that it may just be scrapped. The 777-9 comprises almost all the 320 orders for passenger planes, and there don’t seem to be too many more coming soon.