Boeing 777X in airport

There’s been a lot of talk recently about the newest Boeing 777X planes: the 777-8 and its bigger brother, the 777-9. Firstly, the manufacturer stated that the highly-anticipated jets would be ready to fly in June 2019 after years of development. However, following unexpected delays, the deliveries of Boeing’s newest passenger jet models were postponed.

Nevertheless, the 777-9 completed the first taxi test at the Everett, WA assembly plant on June 26, and it was successful.

While the development of the 777-9 plane has been riddled with problems, the jet is truly a fascinating piece of Boeing jet engineering. The aviation world has named it one of the greatest passenger jets out there today, and it may symbolize a new era of aviation. So keep reading to learn more about the features of the Boeing 777X jets!

The Jets

The Boeing Company has been making planes since the early beginnings of flight history in the 1900s. With a high demand for transatlantic travel, Boeing manufactured some of the most popular passenger airplanes ever, such as the Boeing 747. It is undoubtedly the largest commercial airplane manufacturer!

Currently, Boeing makes five different passenger plane types, including the 777. And speaking of the 777, it’s a long-range twin-engine airliner that was first introduced in 1994.

The 777 is the largest twin-engine jet ever, and it can carry around 400 passengers depending on its variant. The Triple Seven has many distinguishing features, and it is used by such airlines as United Emirates, Air France, and Cathay Pacific. Exactly 1,584 jets have been made so far for this model line.

The New 777X

It’s clear that Boeing intends to build on the legacy of previous models with the 777X line. One highly exciting thing is that the new jets are made with revolutionary manufacturing methods, fuel-saving capabilities, reduced operating costs, and their features are truly impressive.

There are two 777X variants including the -9 and the slightly smaller -8. The 777X program began way back in 2013, and the design was completed in 2015. However, the 777X was then split into the two variants.

The concept behind the 777X takes the best features of the 777 and the 787 Dreamliner and blends them to form an incredibly desirable and fast passenger plane. When the news of the new planes first broke, the aviation world was stunned by some of its key features.

Features

The new 777X jets offer a wider cabin with more seats as well as state-of-the-art wing construction compared to previous models and other passenger jets. The 777-9 offers up to 425 seats while its slightly smaller variant has up to 356 seats.

The wings on both jets have the same length but are actually longer than any other wings Boeing has ever constructed. It’s quite a revolutionary feature since the manufacturer has found a compromise between the larger wings and lift improvement. Boeing claims that this feature also saves fuel, and the larger size does not hinder the commercial aircraft’s movements at airport gates. This is due to the new folding ability included on the wings.

Some of the features of both jets, for example, their flight tech, are based on those utilized in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. However, they differ in many ways.

For example, the new wings have a raked tip compared to the 787’s winglets. Additionally, the folding wingtip is slightly over 10 feet. When the jet is not in the air, the wings fold up, similar to military planes. On takeoff, wings fold down and lock into place.

Additionally, the -8 and -9 have GE9X engines by General Electric. It is said that the engines in the 777X jets are the largest and most powerful compared to previous Triple Seven variants.

According to Boeing, these engines operate with 5% increased efficiency and will reduce operating costs. However, the GE9X engines have unfortunately experienced some problems during testing and have contributed to the postponement of the planes’ release.

Check out the list of the main characteristics on the 777-9 and 777-8 below.

777-8 Details

BOEING 777 8X from the ground

  • Range: 8,690 nautical miles
  • Seats: 350–375
  • Length: 229 feet
  • Wingspan (extended): 235 feet
  • Wingspan (folded): 212 feet
  • Tail Height: 64 feet
  • Cabin Width: 19 feet 7 inches
  • Cargo Capacity: 230.2 cubic meters
  • Engines: 2 x GE9X-105B1A
  • Thrust: 470 kilonewton (105,000 lb)

777-9 Details

Boeing 777x 9 in the sky

  • Range: 7,525 nautical miles
  • Seats: 400–42
  • Length: 251 feet
  • Wingspan (extended): 235 feet
  • Wingspan (folded): 212 feet
  • Tail Height: 64 feet 7 inches
  • Cabin Width: 19 feet 7 inches
  • Cargo Capacity: TBA
  • Engines: 2 x GE9X-105B1A
  • Thrust: 470 kilonewton (105,000 lb)

Price and Interest

The jets have already accumulated a lot of interest from major airlines such as Singapore Airlines, British Airways, and Emirates. Allegedly, Emirates already ordered around 150 jets from both models, Lufthansa is waiting on 20 aircraft, and this company was the first to order the jets from the new line. Moreover, Qatar Airways purchased 60. So far, a combined total of 344 planes of both variants have been ordered by airlines.

The list price of the 777-9 is currently $388.7 million, but some estimates have said that its real price to airline companies with bulk discounts will amount to around $200 million. However, that still means the 777-9 is the most expensive aircraft in the Boeing range. The list price of the 777-8, on the other hand, is $360.5 million.

Currently, it looks like the 777-9 will be the first of the two jets to take its first flight in the fall of 2019, but deliveries of the aircraft will happen much later in 2020.

Delays

In May, some reports have stated that one 777-9 plane had an issue with the GE9X engines. Allegedly, when the engines started, people saw smoke clouds from far away.

Engine GE9X

Unfortunately, General Electric released a statement in June claiming that the engines needed to be redesigned.

With that, the engine certification process was pushed back to the fall of this year. However, release delays and issues are not uncommon when it comes to new planes, as witnessed by the 737 MAX and the 787 Dreamliner setbacks. For example, the 787 release was delayed from 2008 to 2011.

Boeing panned the crafts’ entry into service for 2019 after starting the development process in 2013, so it’s unclear if the jets will actually fly by the end of the year. Realistically, it could happen by 2020. Unfortunately, due to these delays, Boeing is facing significant issues regarding orders from airlines. Some companies like Lufthansa and Emirates have already canceled or decreased their orders. Additionally, Boeing wanted to showcase the planes during the Paris Air Show but could not present the planes due to engine issues.

Nevertheless, companies like Lufthansa have already revealed their plans for the jet. According to Lufthansa, their 777-9 jets will offer premium economy seats by 2021. Hopefully, the engine issues will be solved by the end of 2019.

Why the New Jets Matter

It appears that 777X aims to beat the reputation of the 787 Dreamliner, which has been called the most advanced plane in aviation history. The new Triple Seven jets were intended as a response to the Airbus A350 1000, which provided significant competition for Boeing over the years.

As the 777X jets will feature longer range capabilities and larger cargo space, the jets could theoretically beat the Airbus A350. Since 2014, Boeing has employed hundreds of people in facilities like St. Louis. In this facility, over 700 new employees were hired to assemble parts. By the beginning of 2016, some 787 assembly lines were converted to accommodate the 777X jets. Currently, the yearly production rate of 777X jets is 100.

Boeing also created major cost-cutting effects, such as the automated upright fuselage building system (FAUB). This new system can drill over 10,000 holes incredibly quickly. It’s quite an efficient system that cuts time and represents a major step in automated manufacturing. Plus, 777X’s wings are incredibly interesting as the manufacturer has chosen not to outsource their production, compared to the 787.

Efficiency

Overall, the 777-9 will improve the consumption of fuel by approximately 10% due to the new engines. The longer wings created out of carbon fiber will generate a 7% improvement. And the fuel burn per seat is reduced since the seating is 10-abreast with a wide-body (20% for each seat).

According to Boeing, the 777-8 will beat the A350-1000 by 4% in terms of fuel efficiency. What’s more, the 777-9 will be 11% more efficient when it comes to costs and 12% concerning fuel consumption compared to the Airbus.

Freebird

The world’s largest plane engines, larger cabin space, carbon composite foldable wings, longer range, and efficiency of the 777-8 and 777-9 are quite groundbreaking. The reduced manufacturing costs, plus the fuel and operational cost efficiency are some of the key features regarding these Boeing jets. Unfortunately, their future is uncertain. Hopefully, the engine issues will be resolved by the end of the year, and the 777X will complete its maiden flight in 2020.