Chicago-based aircraft manufacturer Boeing has been forced to yet again push back the development schedule of its eagerly anticipated but delay-plagued 777X aircraft, according to sources who spoke on condition of anonymity to Reuters.
The 777X or 7779 as it is otherwise known is the next-generation replacement of Boeing’s incredibly popular 777 widebody long-haul aircraft. The plane promises to deliver better fuel efficiency, lower operating costs, a longer range and other benefits for both passengers and airlines.
Boeing has won nearly 400 orders for the aircraft including 156 due to be delivered to Persian Gulf carrier Emirates and 74 that are destined for Qatar Airways. Other launch customers who have had their fleet plans thrown into turmoil include Lufthansa, British Airways and Singapore Airlines.
The jet has been in development since 2013 and at one stage Boeing had hoped to start delivering the plane to airlines from 2020. That schedule has been pushed back several times and the first 777X planes might not now roll off the production line ready for delivery until 2025.
Emirates’ president Sir Tim Clark has told various media outlets that he doesn’t anticipate seeing the 777X ready for delivery until late 2024 at the earliest. The airline veteran said he planned to have a “grown-up conversation” with Boeing executives at the Dubai Air Show last year where the 777X was put on display.
Development issues include a high-profile incident in which an aircraft door blew off when the 777X was put an extreme pressurisation test in 2019 overseen by the Federal Aviation Administration. The agency has put Boeing under far greater scrutiny following the 737MAX scandal which is further delaying the 777X development and certification schedule.
Boeing had hoped to gain certification for 777X by 2023 but the FAA recently warned the aerospace giant that this timeline was out of date. The FAA has put a hold on 787 Dreamliners as it investigates manufacturing defects piling further pressure on airlines.
Airlines have been told to anticipate deliveries of 787 Dreamliners to be restarted in the second half of 2022.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.