Boeing presents first 777-9X at staff-only event

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Boeing has conducted a staff-only rollout ceremony for its 777-9X. (Boeing/Twitter)

Boeing staff have had a first look at the new 777-9X at an internal event at the company’s Everett facility just outside Seattle in Washington State.

The 777-9X was to have been officially unveiled to the world on March 13 in front of company staff, suppliers, invited guests and media.

However, the public roll-out was cancelled in response to the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 on Sunday, March 10.

Instead, Boeing held a staff only, low-key event for the 777-9X rollout, pictures of which appeared on social media.

For example, Katie Bailey posted photographs of the aircraft on her @KPAE_Spotter Twitter page.

Boeing had said previously it would look for an opportunity to mark the new aircraft with the world in the near future. There was no date for the rescheduling of any events related to the 777-X rollout.

Flight tests of the 777-9X were expected to occur later in 2019, with first delivery set for 2020.

The 777-9X is 77 metres in length, has a total wingspan of 72 metres and is capable of flying 7,600nm when carrying 400-425 passengers in a two-class configuration according to Boeing figures.

It has been pitched as the ideal replacement for the very large aircraft segment of the market.

Boeing is also building the 777-8X, which is still in development. The Boeing website lists the aircraft as having a range of 8,700nm and a passenger capacity of 350-375 passengers. The aircraft is expected to enter service in 2022.

The 777-8X was regarded as a potential replacement for the in-service Boeing 777-300ER.

Both variants are powered by General Electric GE9X engines. Flight tests for those engines began in March 2018.

The 777-X is a contender for Qantas’s Project Sunrise ambition for an aircraft to operate nonstop from Australia’s east coast to London and New York. Airbus has put forward its A350 platform for Project Sunrise.

There were 326 orders for the 777X program at January 31 2019, according to the Boeing website. The figure does not include British Airways’ recent signing for 18 777-9X and options for up to 24 more aircraft.

Other airlines that have ordered the aircraft include , Cathay Pacific (21 777-9X), Emirates (35 777-8X and 115 777-9X), Lufthansa (20 777-9X) and Singapore Airlines (20 777-9X).

While the 326 figure included 25 aircraft for Etihad Airways – comprising eight 777-8X and 17 777-9X – it was reported in February 2019 that the Abu Dhabi-based carrier was restructuring its order book and committing to take only six of the 777-X aircraft over the coming years.

Another look at the first 777-9X from Jonathan Cady’s @jonkd84 Twitter page.

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