Boeing’s update of its 777 twin-engine widebody could bring to market an “entirely new category” of aircraft sitting between the largest of Airbus’s upcoming A350s and Boeing’s own 747-8 jumbo jet, according to a report by AirInsight, an aerospace analysis website.
Boeing is currently developing new versions of its popular 777 jetliners, which are expected to feature new engines, carbon composite wings and a stretched fuselage.
The largest model, tentatively known as the 777-9X, is likely to feature 405 seats, 55 more than the A350-1000, according to AirInsight. Both aircraft will likely have a similar range of about 13,700km. The smaller 777-8X is projected to have 345 seats – five fewer than the largest A350 – but 1500km of additional range. AirInsight said those numbers are based on market intelligence and could change.
“Boeing’s 777X strategy is clearly intended to bracket the Airbus A350,” the website said. But that strategy could also threaten Boeing’s 747-8I, which has about 60 more seats but a slightly shorter range than the 777-9X.
Current projections estimate that the 777X could begin entering service by 2019. Airbus expects the A350-900 to enter service by next year, followed by the -800 and -1000 by 2017.