As the Boeing 747 retires for good, Boeing is working on its new jewel in its aircraft lineup. The Boeing 777X is a long-standing program at the aircraft manufacturer (started in 2010) and its first commercial flight is not scheduled before 2025, with a delay of 6 years. Until then, tests are still being conducted and fortunately. In his case, the device experienced a post-certification technical defect on one of its copies, nailing it to the ground for more than a month in November. It’s not the first.
The problem was actually with the engine. The GE Aerospace reactor that equips the plane (GE9X) had a bug during a thermal overshoot test. The problem has just been corrected and Boeing will be able to resume its flights in agreement with the regulators. They will follow a “full security process and appropriate mitigation measures, while our vendors and technical teams continue their work”, explained Boeing in the pages of FlightGlobal.
6 years behind the Boeing 777X
However, this is not the first time that anomalies have been discovered on this engine. Before the certification of the latter, it had taken several more months, in 2019, for GE Aerospace to present the compliant reactor on the plane. Same thing approaching the first inaugural flight. The latter had been postponed from July 2019 to January 2020. In the end, between the start of the project in 2012 which announced the marketing in 2019, numerous postponements led Boeing to pass its delivery project of 777X to its customers in 2025, i.e. 6 years late.
There are currently 341 orders for the aircraft, which will be assembled on the same lines as the Boeing 747, in Everett (Washington State, United States). Compared to a 777-300ER, the new 777-9 which will come from the line of 777X must be able to fly 460 kilometers more with the same weight. For the launch of deliveries of the aircraft, it will first of all be 777-8s that are planned. Smaller, with a maximum of 384 passengers, they will be able to cover a range of 16,170 kilometres.
In the meantime, it is Airbus which is taking advantage of a period of time when competition is not very high, to be able to sell its A350s. Boeing’s only weapon is the B787 Dreamliner, but the plane too is getting old. For a year, it was also suspended from all orders for several manufacturing problems, in particular in its structure with the fittings of a portion of the fuselage and on the horizontal stabilizer.