- The Boeing 777X was unveiled on March 13 in a private, employees-only event.
- The 777X is destined to serve as Boeing’s new flagship and replace the iconic 747 jumbo jet.
- The 777X comes in two variants: the $US410.2 million 777-8, and the $US442.2 million 777-9.
- The jet is expected to enter service in 2020 with its launch customer, Emirates.
March 13 was supposed to be a media bonanza for Boeing. The aviation giant was set to unveil its next great wide-body jetliner – one that’s destined to serve as its flagship for decades to come and finally replace the legendary 747 jumbo jet.
That day, the attention of the world’s news outlets was indeed trained upon Boeing. But not for that reason.
Three days earlier, Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302 crashed shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, killing all 157 passengers and crew on board the Boeing 737 Max 8. It was the second nearly brand-new 737 Max 8 to crash under strikingly similar circumstances.
By the morning of March 13, more than 50 regulatory agencies and airlines around the world had grounded or even outright banned the plane. That afternoon, the Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency order that grounded the 737 Max in the US as well.
What was supposed to be a day of celebration for Boeing instead became one of the darkest days in the company’s history.
The media junket was scrapped, and the first 777X prototype was introduced in a private ceremony reserved for employees.
That said, the unfortunate circumstances surrounding its unveiling does not diminish the importance of the new 777X to Boeing. Here’s a closer look.
On March 13, Boeing unveiled the first prototype of its upcoming 777X airliner before a crowd of employees.
The Boeing 777X will be available in two variants: the $US410.2 million 777-8, and the $US442.2 million 777-9.
The first prototype was of a 777-9, which will have some massive shoes to fill.
The 777X will replace not only the original 777 …
… but Boeing’s iconic 747 jumbo jet.
It will be Boeing’s new flagship.
“The big aeroplane of the future for the aviation industry is going to be the Boeing 777-9,” Randy Tinseth, Boeing’s vice president of marketing, told Business Insider in an interview at the Farnborough Air Show last year. “It carries 400 passengers. It flies further than the 747 and the A380 does today.”
Tinseth added: “The twin-engine, twin-aisle economics of that aeroplane just beats the big four-engine aircraft, and it’s just the reality of the market.”
At 252 feet long, the 777-9 is the longest airliner in the world.
Split into two cabins, the 777-8 is expected to have room for 375 passengers while the 777-9 should be able to carry 425 people.
The interior has a wider cabin with larger windows and a new lighting system.
The 777X will be powered by a pair of massive GE9X turbofan engines, which GE says produces its lowest emissions and is its quietest engine.
The 777X is equipped with wingtips that fold up when the plane is on the ground.
This helps the wing deliver greater aerodynamic efficiency in the air, as well as allows it to fit into tighter space at airports.
Boeing is also selling a private version of the 777X.
Here’s one of the interior options available for the plane, by Jet Aviation.
The 777X will be assembled at Boeing’s plant in Everett, Washington.
Boeing has taken more than 350 orders for the 777X since it officially went on sale in May 2013.
The 777X is expected to enter service in 2020 with its launch customer, Emirates, the largest operator of the current-generation Boeing 777.
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