Amid a week of diabolical recalls, groundings and international bans on its MAX 8 aircraft, Boeing has launched the “largest and most efficient twin-engine jet in the world”.
The announcement came amid the news that the two catastrophic MAX 8 crashes, Lion Air and the recent Ethiopian Airlines disasters, share similarities based on their black-box data.
At 77 metres, the Boeing 777X is the longest passenger jet ever built, just stretching ahead of the A340, the longest body aircraft built by competitors Airbus, by 1.64 metres.
The was not ideal for Boeing, with the multi-national manufacturer embroiled in its evolving MAX 8 crisis, but at a low-key event – toned down out of respect for the victims of the Ethiopian Airlines crash – the company unveiled its latest aircraft, six years in the making.
The unveiling of the 777X aircraft was held at the manufacturer’s facility near Seattle – far lower profile event than is usual for such a long-awaited aircraft.
The 777X marks a new era of air design for which fuel economy is increasingly important, with Boeing vouching that the new twin-engine jet will deliver savings of 10-12 per cent on operating costs.
As well as flying on a more efficient and economically competitive aircraft, passengers will also benefit from larger windows and increased space in overhead storage.
Earlier this year Airbus announced it would no longer be producing its competitor A380 superjumbo, after several cancellations for orders of the jets with airlines opting for fleets of smaller and more agile aircraft.
The celebrated four-engine, 868 passenger aircraft had previously been the go-to model for long range services.
First deliveries of the planes are expected in 2020.