Boeing on Saturday successfully completed the first test flight of the world’s largest twin-engined plane, the 777X. The flight took off near Seattle and lasted four hours. Two attempts were called off this week due to high winds. “It’s a proud day for us,” said the chief executive of Boeing’s commercial airplane unit, Stan Deal.
The test flight of the 777x has been announced as Boeing faces criticism and backlash for the crashing of the two 737 Max that killed roughly 340 passengers and crew in 2018 and 2019. The 737 Max fleet was grounded after the second crash of the Ethiopian Airlines plane that killed roughly 157 on board.
What is the 777x?
According to the Boeing website, the 777x will be the world’s largest and most fuel-efficient twin-engine jet. Because of “new breakthroughs” in aerodynamics and engines, the 777x will consume 10 per cent less amount of fuel and emissions and will also have 10 per cent lower operating costs than the competition.
Some of the key features of the airliner include the GE9X commercial aircraft engine, which is one of the world’s largest and most powerful commercial aircraft engines and folding raked up wingtips (a foldable portion of up to 11 feet on each wing) so that the airplanes can fit inside conventional airport gates. While the 777-8 costs roughly $410 million and carry 384 passengers, the 777-9 costs roughly $442 million and can carry 426 passengers. The former’s range is up to 16,170 km and the latter’s range is about 13,500 km. The 777x is also the largest Boeing ever designed, with a wingspan of 235 feet.
Current 777x customers include All Nippon Airways, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates and Lufthansa among others. In December 2019, Qantas chose the Airbus A350-100 for its ultra long haul flights. In October, the airline finished a non-stop test flight from New York to Sydney, a journey of over 16,200 km with 50 passengers aboard a Boeing 787-9.
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