While Boeing continues to climb out of the embattled 737 Max 8 losses, it made some headway this week with a successful test launch of the new 777X jetliner. Based on the popular 777 and with proven technologies from the 787 Dreamliner, the 777X took off at Paine Field in Everett, Washington, for a smooth 51-minute flight without incident.
“The 777X flew beautifully, and today’s testing was very productive,” said Capt. Van Chaney, 777/777X chief pilot for Boeing Test & Evaluation.
The first of four dedicated 777-9 flight test airplanes, WH001 will now undergo checks before resuming testing in the coming days. The test fleet, which began ground testing in Everett last year, will endure a comprehensive series of tests and conditions on the ground and in the air over the coming months to demonstrate the safety and reliability of the design.
The newest member of Boeing’s market-leading widebody family, the 777X will deliver 10 percent lower fuel use and emissions and 10 percent lower operating costs than the competition through advanced aerodynamics, the latest generation carbon-fiber composite wing and the most advanced commercial engine ever built, GE Aviation’s GE9X.
The new 777X also combines new cabin innovations focused on spacious seating, large overhead bins, larger windows, better cabin altitude and humidity, less noise and a smoother ride. The 777X includes the 777-8 with a seat count of 384, and the 777-9 that will carry 426 passengers.
Boeing expects to deliver the first 777X in 2021. Orders and commitments have come in from ANA, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines.
Regarding prospects for the 737 Max, the airline manufacturer is now targeting mid 2020 for completion of the certification process.
“It also accounts for the rigorous scrutiny that regulatory authorities are rightly applying at every step of their review of the 737 MAX’s flight control system and the Joint Operations Evaluation Board process which determines pilot training requirements,” Boeing said in a statement this week. “Returning the MAX safely to service is our number one priority, and we are confident that will happen.”