On the back of an Emirates order for 150, Boeing has formally launched its much-anticipated 777X program, announcing program go-ahead, appropriately enough, at the Dubai Airshow on Sunday.
In all Boeing has received a record-breaking number of customer orders and commitments for the newest member of its twin-aisle, with agreements for 259 aircraft from four customers across Europe and the Middle East provide a strong foundation for development and production.
Representing what the manufacturer says “is the largest product launch in commercial jetliner history by dollar value”, 777X orders and commitments include Lufthansa with 34; Etihad with 25; Qatar Airways with 50 and and a colossal order from Emirates for 150 aircraft. The combined value of the agreements is more than US$95 billion at list prices.
The 777X family includes the 777-8X and the 777-9X, the former competing directly with the A350-1000 at 350-seat capacity and 9,300nm (17,220 km) range, while the latter opens new growth opportunities for airlines with its 400-passengers capacity. With a range of more than 8,200nm (15,185 km), the aircraft will have the lowest operating cost per seat of any commercial aircraft, Boeing claims.
Boeing said the 777-8X will be “12 per cent more fuel efficient than any competing airplane, necessary in today’s competitive environment.”
The 777X introduces the General Electric’s new GE9X and an all-new high-efficiency composite wing that has a longer span than today’s 777.
Pointing to the possibility of the new models being designated the 797 given the extent of design modifications, Boeing said: “Like the 787 Dreamliner which was launched as the 7E7, the 777X will be formally named at a later date. Design of the 777X is underway and suppliers will be named in the coming months. Production is set to begin in 2017, with first delivery targeted for 2020
The 777 family, which today commands 55 percent of market share in its category in terms of order backlog. Boeing also claims the 777 holds 71 per cent of the in-service fleet worldwide.