It was a quiet unveiling of world’s longest passenger plane for Boeing amid trouble with the 737 Max 8, whose new MCAS system is at the centre of two fatal plane crashes in recent months.
The American aircraft manufacturer’s plans to debut the Boeing 777X was delayed following the crash of its aircraft operated by Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. Eventually, the new wide-body jetliner’s launch was kept modest to respect the recent loss.
The Boeing 777X was unveiled to employees at a press free event, which presented a 252-feet wide-body jetliner, longer than the 777-300ER, Airbus A340-600, and current record-holder, the 747-8.
Boeing says the 777X will be the world’s largest and most efficient twin-engine jet.
Engineers created a wing-fold mechanism, a first for a civilian airliner, to allow the 777X, with a 235-feet wingspan, to fit at existing airports handling the narrower 777s.
The cabin interior of the 777X is “inspired by the comforts and conveniences of the 787 Dreamliner, with larger windows, a wider cabin, new lighting and enhanced architecture”.
The 777-9 is the larger of the two 777X models, designed to seat between 400 and 425 passengers in two classes and fly routes of 14,075km.
The 777-8 will follow, seating between 350 and 375 passengers. With a range of over 16,000, the plane is a contender to the Airbus A350ULR for the world’s longest-range airplane.
According to a CNN report, eight airlines have placed 358 orders and commitments for the new jetliner. Dubai-based Emirates will get the first 777-9 next year and the 777-8 will follow two years later.
The maiden test flight for the 777X is scheduled for later this spring.