On February 20, 2019, Boeing took to social media to show off the assembly progress of the newest 777X flight test planes. The manufacturer used the occasion to remind that the rollout date announcement is coming “very soon”.
The new jetliner has already generated a lot of excitement around the world, as it is the longest passenger airplane Boeing has ever made: the 777-9 spans 77 meters (252 feet) from nose to tail.
In January 2019, news emerged that the aircraft has finally been paired with the gigantic GE9X engine, purposely built for the 777X. Roughly the size of a 737’s fuselage, it will be the largest commercial jet engine available.
Can you spot all of the #777X flight test airplanes? We’ll give you a hint, there are 4! Our amazing teams continue to make progress as we prepare to roll out the world’s most efficient large twin-engine airplane. Rollout date coming very soon, stay tuned! #avgeek pic.twitter.com/XxVv56X7ka
— Boeing Airplanes (@BoeingAirplanes) February 20, 2019
Besides its massive engines and colossal wingspan, the aircraft should be “the largest and most-efficient twin-engine jet in the world,” according to the manufacturer, that also promises airlines a 12% lower fuel consumption and a 10% lower operating costs than “competing airplanes”.
Boeing revealed it had completed the first 777X ground test airplane in October 2018. At the time, the first flight test plane had also received its new CFRP (Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer) wing.
We completed the first #777X ground test airplane. @BoeingAirplanes $BA pic.twitter.com/8J9lN2fxtQ
— The Boeing Company (@Boeing) October 24, 2018
The rollout of the first 777X flight test plane – the 777-9 variant – was previously expected to take place this month. According to Airlinerwatch.com, it could come in mid-March.
The first test flight of the 777X – the 777-9 variant – is expected to take place later in 2019, while the first delivery is scheduled in 2020.
We are joining together the first #777X flight test airplane! Great progress as we prepare for flight test in 2019. Learn more about the 777X: https://t.co/7twGuVZU1i #Boeing #Avgeek pic.twitter.com/p0yDkfgsV5
— Boeing Airplanes (@BoeingAirplanes) November 20, 2018
A successor of ageing Boeing 777-200LR and 777-300ER models, the 777X is regarded as a competitor to Airbus A350XWB family and, sometimes, even the A380. The aircraft is to come in two versions: the first model introduced is going to be the 777-9, followed by 777-8.
The 777-9 can seat 400 to 425 passengers in a standard configuration and offer a range of 7,600 nautical miles (14,075 km).
Note: While the cover photo illustrates the 777X in burgundy livery, it is very unlikely the aircraft will feature this colour, as Boeing updated its product family looks to “Boeing Blue” in July 2018.