Sources have told Reuters that Boeing is likely to postpone the launch of its Boeing 777X, the latest version of Boeing's 777 family of aircraft, which have, over the years, accumulated thousands of orders from airlines across the globe. The news comes as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, which has forced demand for air travel to a minimum.
Boeing's 777X family comprises two variants, including the Boeing 777-8 and 777-9. Pictured is the 777-9. Photo by Brandon Farris | AeroNewsX
The sources told Reuters that Boeing intends to launch the Boeing 777X once demand for air travel returns to levels somewhat similar to 2019 and was hopeful that by that time, political tensions between the US and China would reduce, notably the trade war which has caused Chinese aircraft buyers to reconsider.
The delay, which could extend anywhere between a couple of months to a year, could be officially confirmed as early as next week, when Boeing announces its latest financial figures.
Boeing's 777X flew for the first time back in January 2020 and was praised for its advanced technological features, such as its folding wingtips, designed to allow the aircraft's extended wingspan to co-exist with existing airport infrastructure.
Photo by Brandon Farris | AeroNewsX
Among many others, customers for Boeing's new aircraft type include Lufthansa, Etihad, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Singapore Airlines.
The aircraft will feature General Electric's GE9X engines, the largest turbine jet engine ever made. The engines are expected to provide airlines with significantly less fuel burn, resulting in lower costs and overall a more efficient operation.
The engines, however, had some issues. If the aforementioned delay were to go ahead, it wouldn't actually be the first time the aircraft model experienced a postponement. In fact, due to engine issues, the first 777X delivery was pushed back to 2021 instead of the initially announced 2020 timeline.
Earlier this month, Emirates Chief Operating Officer, Adel Al Redha, said in an interview that Boeing would likely miss its 2021 debut as a result of the coronavirus crisis, coupled with a long certification program. Al Redha assured, however, that "2022 is a safe assumption to make" for the aircraft's debut.