The aircraft manufacturer quietly unveiled its latest aircraft, the Boeing 777X, at an employee-only preview in Everett, Washington.
Although the aircraft was set to be unveiled publicly on the 13th of March, the plans were put on hold following the news of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302, a Boeing 737 MAX 8 that fatally crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa leading to the global grounding of the aircraft.
The 777-9 variant of the 777X was displayed to employees in Boeing’s house colors in a hangar at Paine Field. On the fuselage were the tails of each of the aircraft’s launch customers which currently include launch operator Emirates, Lufthansa, Etihad Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways, All Nippon Airways, Singapore Airlines and British Airways, among others.
The planemaker already has 358 orders from eight customers for the new generation of the 777. The first operator will be the Lufthansa, which ordered 20 units of the 777-9.
In addition to the aircraft being unveiled, another key component was also unveiled, the GE9X engines that will be powering the 777X. GE’s largest engine, the GE9X, was created exclusively for the 777X.
Another highlight of the new generation of the 777 is the folding wing tips, a solution adopted by Boeing to facilitate the movement of the aircraft at airports without the need for adaptations. The wings of the 777-9 have a wingspan of 235 feet (71.8 meters) and 212 feet (64.8 m) with the tips gathered.
The first version of the aircraft, the 777-9, is the largest and heaviest twin-engine commercial airplane ever built, 252 ft (77 meters) long and designed to carry up to 414 passengers and take off with a maximum weight of 351 tonnes.
The next step for the aircraft is to exit the factory to commence initial ground tests before taking to the skies in the very near future.