US aircraft manufacturer Boeing has taken the wraps off its long-awaited 777X, the world’s longest passenger jetliner, at its wide-body manufacturing facility in Everett, Washington. Boeing had planned to unveil the jetliner on Wednesday but delayed the debut following the crash of its aircraft in Ethiopia. The event was simplified to respect the recent loss of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a Boeing 737 MAX 8.
At 252 feet, the 777X is longer than its predecessor, the 777-300ER, and the super-stretched Airbus A340-600.
It’ll even be longer by a nose than the current record-holder, the 747-8, the latest version of Boeing’s own “Queen of the Skies” whose aviation-changing ancestor flew 50 years ago. With its maiden test flight expected later this spring, the 777-9 is the larger of the two 777X models that make up Boeing’s jetliner program.
With that enormous length, the plane is designed to seat between 400 and 425 passengers in two classes, and fly routes of 7,600 nautical miles, more than 14,000 kilometers. Eight airlines have placed 358 orders and commitments for the new jetliner. The Dubai-based Emirates will get the first 777-9 next year and the 777-8 will follow two years later.
With new wings, new engines, and an improved cabin and onboard systems, perhaps the 777X is more than just an enhanced 777 and deserves a new name.
So, in 2020, when you see a massive jetliner taxiing to your gate with its wingtips folded like a fighter on the deck of an aircraft carrier, you’ll be getting ready to fly on Boeing’s new flagship.