Aircraft to watch in 2020
From Boeing's tainted 2019 debuts to Russian and Chinese market newcomers, here are some brand new passenger aircraft to take shape and the spotlight in 2020.
Boeing 777X, NMA, MAX
Boeing is starting 2020 with a new CEO, halted production of the 737 MAX, and plenty of mess in need to be fixed. The year 2019 has, no doubt, been very difficult, as the two crashes of 737 MAX and the mayhem that followed (read more about it in Boeing Part I, II, III, IV, V) had not only cast a shadow on the company and its best-selling 737 series but across all its programs. Too bad for Boeing, which had some big news up its sleeve regarding new aircraft.
As the much awaited launches and announcements were overshadowed, here are three big news that have been postponed to 2020:
Boeing 737 MAX. Much has already been said about the (infamous) 737 MAX aircraft family. What has been, perhaps, overlooked, is that once the family is finally certified ‒ presumably in 2020 ‒ there could be more MAXs taking off than just the ones currently grounded.
Boeing 737 MAX family is made up of two variants, the Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 9, which are already in airlines’ fleets and two still in the making ‒ the MAX 10 and 7. The shortest sibling of MAXs, the 737 MAX 7, was previously due to enter service in 2019. The date could now be sometime in 2020.
The production of the MAX 7 was launched in 2014 and the first aircraft was rolled out of Boeing’s Renton facility in the U.S. in February 2018, shortly thereafter completing its maiden flight in March 2018. Initially, Boeing 737 MAX 7 was supposed to be delivered for the launch customer Southwest Airlines in January 2019. However, the U.S. low cost giant is believed to have postponed the deliveries until 2023-2024, giving up the queue for the Canadian low cost carrier WestJet, which has also converted its first four orders for MAX 8, postponing delivery of its first MAX 7 to 2021.
Meanwhile, the fourth and the last member of the family, the Boeing 737 MAX 10, has officially debuted in the company’s Renton, Washington, factory on November 22, 2019. Seating up to 230 passengers, the MAX 10 is the largest plane in the MAX aircraft family. The maiden flight of the MAX 10 is scheduled in 2020.
Boeing 777X. A successor of aging Boeing 777-200LR and 777-300ER models, once in service the 777X is promising to be a truly impressive aircraft. With its huge folding wings (the first of the kind on commercial passenger aircraft) and engines as wide as the body of a McDonnell Douglas MD-90, it is going to be the first twin-engine jet to be able to carry more than 400 passengers.
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). Regarded as a competitor to Airbus A350XWB or 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.
On March 13, 2019, Boeing was supposed to publicly roll out the first 777-9X at their Everett facility in Seattle. After Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 crash three days prior to the event, the company indefinitely postponed the public ceremony, instead quietly revealing it only for the company’s employees.
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