The first Boeing 777X for Emirates has been captured in the final assembly line, mostly put together, indicating roll out is just around the corner.
Photos show the aircraft, a 777-9, in Boeing’s Everett facility in Washington; the UAE flag is painted on the upper and lower surfaces of the folding wing tips.
Applied to the side of the fuselage is a banner stating this is the second 777X produced for the airline; however this is the seventh built in total by Boeing, as part of the build and test campaign.
Emirates has 150 Boeing 777X aircraft on order, split across the smaller 777-8 and the 777-9, as seen in the following table:
|Aircraft Type||Number on Order|
Despite this enormous order the Seattle Times has reported that the airline is in talks with Boeing to defer deliveries, or possibly convert some to smaller aircraft such as the 787 Dreamliner.
Emirates’ 2018-2019 financial results saw the disappearance of the commitment for 40 787 Dreamliners, leading to media to assume talks had ended.
The airline was quick to dismiss these assumptions with the following statement:
“In November 2017, Emirates announced a memorandum of understanding for the purchase of 40 Boeing 787s which at this time has not been converted into a firm contract. However, we can confirm that discussions on the 787 are ongoing.”
President of Emirates, Sir Tim Clark, is highly fond of the Boeing 777X and maintains great confidence in the aircraft. Without his order for 150, the 777X would have a rather abysmal order backlog.
Destined to carry on the great success of the Boeing 777-300ER, the 777X offers airlines with a fuel burn reduction of around 20 percent. Additionally, passengers can enjoy a roomier cabin with larger windows.
Diving into the technical details, the 777X features a state-of-the-art composite wing with folding wing tips, allowing it to fit into the same size gates as existing widebody aircraft.
Pilots currently flying the 777 and 787 will be able to fly the 777X, thanks to its common type rating.
With a maximum takeoff weight of 351,000kg (775,000lb), Boeing advertises the 777X as having the capability to carry over 400 passengers anywhere from 7525 to 8690 nautical miles.
Also contributing to the excellent fuel savings are the two General Electric GE9X engines producing up to 105,000lbs of thrust. It’s worth adding these engines recently broke a world record, as seen here:
Unfortunately for airlines the Boeing 777X is likely to miss its delivery target, due to last minute engine problems that have lead General Electric to redesign components.
Initially aiming to ship the new engines later this year, the redesign and delivery schedule has pushed the maiden flight into 2020.
Although Boeing is still committed to an aggressive flight test campaign, to see the aircraft handed over to airlines next year, a warning has been issued that it could slip to 2021.
Emirates anticipates their first aircraft will be in their hands in January 2021.