British Airways Dictates the Boeing 777-9X

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A supplied image showing an artist’ s impression of a Boeing 777-9X in British Airways livery. (Boeing)

Boeing has won its first 777-X orders {for about|for approximately|for around} two years and secured {a new|a brand new|a fresh} airline customer for the program with British Airways signing for up to 42 aircraft.

The airline’ s parent company International Airlines Group has signed {a deal|a package|a deal breaker} for 18 777-9X and options for 24 more.

It is the first order for the 777X family of aircraft since 2017, when Singapore Airlines (SIA) signed for 20 of the type.

International Airlines Group (IAG) said on Thursday (European time) the 18 777-9X would be configured {to carry|to hold|to transport} 325 passengers in a four-cabin layout.

Further, the aircraft have been earmarked to replace 14 747-400s {and four|and 4} 777-200s in the British Airways fleet.

IAG chief executive Willie Walsh said the 777-9X was the “ world’ s most fuel efficient longhaul aircraft”.

“ It’ s the ideal replacement for the Boeing 747 and its size and range will be an excellent fit for the airline’ s existing network, ” Walsh said in a statement.

“ This aircraft {will provide|will give you|provides} further cost efficiencies and environmental benefits with fuel cost per seat improvements of 30 per cent {compared to the|when compared to|in comparison to the} Boeing 747. It also {provides an|offers an} enhanced passenger experience. ”

British Airways is the last remaining European carrier flying to Europe with its own aircraft {with a|having a|using a} daily London Heathrow-Singapore-Sydney service with 777-300ER equipment.

An artist's impression of a Boeing 777-9X in British Airways livery. (Boeing)

An artist’ s impression {of a|of the|of any} Boeing 777-9X in British Airways livery. (Boeing)

Launched in 2013 , the 777-X family of aircraft comprise the 777-8X and 777-9X variants. The pair {is an|is definitely an|is surely an} upgrade from Boeing’ s in-production 777-200LR and 777-300ER.

The 777-8X and 777-9X {will be|is going to be|will probably be} powered by General Electric GE9X engines. Flight tests for those engines began in March 2018.

GE Aviation’s flight test bed with the GE9X engine. (GE Aviation)

GE Aviation’ s flight test bed with the GE9X engine. (GE Aviation)

Other new features include composite wings with folding wingtips to maintain its Code E rating at airports, {as well as|and also|along with} in-cabin enhancements such as larger overhead stowage and a wider cross section.

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. First delivery was expected to {occur in|result from|take place in} 2020.

{It has been|It is often|It is} pitched as the ideal {replacement for|alternative to} the very large aircraft segment of the market.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes {vice president|vp} of marketing Randy Tinseth recently described the 777-9X as “ definitely the best big airplane in the market in the future”, given its capacity, range and operating economics.

“ It’ s the airplane that will {replace the|affect the} 747-400, ultimately the 747-8, and it is going to replace the A380, ” Tinseth told reporters on the sidelines of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) assembly of presidents in Jeju, South Korea on October 19.

Meanwhile, the 777-8X is still in development {and yet|but|yet} to reach firm configuration. The Boeing website lists the aircraft as having {a range of|a selection of|an array of} 8, 700nm and a passenger capacity of 350-375 passengers. The aircraft is {expected to|likely to|anticipated to} enter service in 2022.

Tinseth described the 777-8X as “ really about the replacement for the 777-300ER”.

“ We’ re not going to {see that|note that|observe that} replacement cycle for that aircraft until we get into the next decade, ” Tineseth said.

The British Airways order comes as Boeing prepares to roll out the first 777-9X at its Everett facility just outside Seattle in Washington State.

On February 20, Boeing released pictures of four 777-X flight test aircraft undergoing final assembly on its Twitter account .

Then, on February 27, again on Twitter, the aerospace giant offered a glimpse of a 777-X being painted.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief executive Kevin McAllister said the 777X had “ no competitor in its class” when it came to efficiency and performance.

“ It is the right-sized airplane for British Airways to efficiently serve long-range routes with heavy passenger demand, ” McAllister said in a statement.

There were 326 orders {for the|for that|for your} 777X program at January 31 2019, according to the Boeing website.

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|it had been|it absolutely 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.

At December 31 2018, British Airways had 35 747-400s {in its|in the} fleet. The airline {has said|reports|says} previously it planned to phase out the type by 2024.

Meanwhile, the 777-9X order {has also|has additionally|in addition has} kicked off the replacement program for British Airways’ 46 777-200/200ERs. While the four oldest airframes will be replaced {by the|from the|with the} 777-9X, the airline was considering all applicable aircraft for the remaining 42 777-200/200ERs.

[embedded content]
VIDEO: Boeing details on its YouTube channel the 777-X’ s flightdeck design and philosophy.

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