New Boeing 777X to overcome the 737MAX disaster.
Boeing (NYSE: BA) Co made on Saturday the first flight of the largest twin-engine aircraft in the world, in an attempt by the troubled company to increase its competition with its European rival Airbus (PA: AIR) and take a break in the crisis that affects to its 737MAX disaster model.
The 777X, a larger and more efficient version of the successful Boeing 777 minijumbo, took off from outside Seattle at 10.09 local time (1809 GMT), after strong winds forced to postpone two previous attempts during this week.
Boeing officials said the flight would last between 3 and 5 hours, culminating months of tests and certifications before the plane enters service with the Emirates airline in 2021, a year later than originally anticipated due to problems arising during its development.
The device is the largest of the two versions planned by Boeing and will be officially called 777-9, but is best known by the code name during its development: 777X.
Its most visible novelties are the tips of the folding wings – designed to allow its new large carbon wings to enter the same parking lots as the previous models – and the largest commercial engines in the world, manufactured by General Electric (NYSE: GE ).
The flight means a boost for Boeing, immersed in a growing crisis by the 737 MAX, which has been immobilized since March after two fatal accidents.
“For me this is the flagship of the big airlines worldwide … it represents the great things we can do as a company,” 777X marketing director Wendy Sowers told the media when asked about the importance of the flight in the middle of the crisis by the MAX.
Boeing said it has sold 309 units of the plane – valued at more than $ 442 million each according to the price catalog – but analysts have questioned its great dependence on Middle Eastern airlines, which have reduced their purchases in middle of a pause in its expansion.
The 777X will compete with the recent Airbus A350-1000, with a capacity for about 360 passengers. Both reflect the increasing range and efficiency of twin-engine jets, which are displacing older four-engine devices.