Boeing has rolled out the first Boeing 777X-9 which will be used for the static testing.
This non-flying 777X now heads off to nearly a year of testing to verify design strength.
The second airframe is well-advanced and will roll out in January 2019 and fly in March.
Boeing is building two models of the 777X family: the -9 and longer range -8.
The driving force behind the 777X is Emirates President Sir Tim Clark, whose airline is the lead buyer with an order for 150.
The 777-9X offers seating for more than 400 passengers, depending on an airline’s configuration choices.
With a range of more than 8,200 nautical miles (15,185 km), the aircraft will have the lowest operating cost per seat of any commercial aircraft.
The second member of the family, the 777-8X, will be the most flexible jet in the world claims Boeing. The aircraft will seat 350 passengers and offer a range capability of more than 9,300 nautical miles (17,220 km).
Sir Tim describes the 777X as “an absolute peach”.
Key to his enthusiasm is the aircraft’s economics — it is 20 percent more efficient per seat than the industry’s long-time benchmark the 777-300ER.
The 777X combines the best features of the current 777 with a longer fuselage, new engine and the composite wing design from the Boeing 787.
It also features 20 percent larger windows and lower pressurization altitude to reduce jet lag.
According to Sir Tim, the Boeing 777X is in good shape.
Speaking to a media roundtable at IATA in Sydney in June, Sir Tim told AirlineRatings.com that the first aircraft would be delivered to Emirates in June 2020.
On where the program is, Sir Tim said: “It’s in good shape and just about where needs to be.”
The engine (GE9X) was performing very well, he added.
“Surprisingly good and the engine is a lot better than most [at this stage of its testing progarm] – it’s a good story.”
Certification testing of the GE9X engine began in May 2017. Beyond flight testing, the engine recently completed icing tests at GE Aviation’s facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and continues crosswind testing at the Peebles Test Operation in Ohio. Engine certification is expected in 2019.
The test flying of the engine to validate bench testing is critical for Boeing to provide hard data to Qantas for its Project Sunrise for a Sydney to New York and Sydney to London non-stop capability for the 777X-8.
Qantas’ chief Alan Joyce told AirlineRatings.com that both the Boeing 777X-8 and Airbus, with its A350, can meet the airline’s challenge of an aircraft capable of flying from New York to Sydney non-stop with 300 passengers.
Boeing is proposing a tweaked version of its Boeing 777-8X while Airbus is pushing a similarly tweaked version of its A350 aircraft that Singapore Airlines has ordered.
What is not clear is how much each aircraft beats the 300 passengers mark and what the economics will be.
“Both will be bit different but will have enough seats to make it economical,” said Mr. Joyce