Boeing opened up the Dubai Air Show with a bang this weekend, unveiling its long-awaited 777X commercial jet and announcing it had already sold 259 to four airlines, worth more than $US95 billion.
The 777X is a refreshed version of the 777, with a longer, composite wing and a new GE engine. Those tweaks promise to make it 12% more efficient that the competition, a big plus in an industry where high fuel prices make it hard for airlines to eke out profits.
The 777X family includes two jets: the 777-8X and 777-9X. The 8X will offer a range of over 9,300 nautical miles and have room for 350 passengers.
The bigger 9X will have a range of over 8,200 nautical miles and have room for 400 on board. And if airlines choose to pack that many passengers in, they’ll benefit from “the lowest operating cost per seat of any commercial plane.”
Three of the four customers announced in Dubai are based in the Middle East. Emirates ordered 150 of the new jets, Qatar Airways got 50, and Etihad Airways went for 25. Germany’s Lufthansa ordered 34.
The 777X is now in development. Boeing expects to being production in 2017, and start deliveries in 2020. Where the plane will be built is an open question. Last week, Boeing workers rejected a new labour deal that would have secured the job for Seattle.
Boeing says the 8X will compete with the Airbus A350-1000, while the 9X “is in a class by itself.”
Here’s the 9X and 8X together:
The 777X jets will be powered by the GE9X, which Boeing calls “the most advanced commercial engine ever.”
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