The first Boeing 777-9 for Lufthansa has come together at Boeing’s Everett assembly line, as confirmed by the airline on social media today.
Although delivery of the aircraft isn’t set until the summer of 2020, building the aircraft now allows Boeing to train their production line engineers on the new aircraft whilst test aircraft near the exit of the building.
Roll-out of the test aircraft is expected to occur very soon, with a good estimate being mid-March. Following roll-out, the aircraft will undergo ground testing and final checks before performing its maiden flight and launching its flight-test campaign.
Powered by two General Electric GE9X engines that can produce up to 105,000 pounds of thrust, the aircraft will be able to accommodate anywhere from 365 to 414 people in a two class configuration depending if you’re looking at the 777-8 or the larger 777-9.
Although some renderings show the aircraft with chevrons like its little 787 and 737 MAX siblings, Boeing has scrapped the design for the 777X. The engines and the revised cabin insulation are expected to make the aircraft quiet whilst reducing the complexity of chevrons.
For those that don’t know, chevrons work at reducing noise, however by forcefully mixing the fan air stream and the ambient flow, drag is created. Boeing has subsequently developed a new way of reducing noise by creating a new nozzle that disrupts shock cells by mechanically mixing the fan stream in the bypass duct with the ambient flow.
Lufthansa has 20 on order and will be the launch customer for the aircraft in Europe. Deliveries will commence in 2020 and continue through to 2025, while at the same time replacing their fleet of Boeing 747-400s.
Sam Chui will be making plans to attend the roll-out event so keep an eye out on this blog for photographs from his perspective!
For those doubting this news, here is confirmation from Lufthasa: