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Boeing 777X Launches to 259 Orders


The advanced, fuel-efficient design is in high demand. Mid-east carrier Emirates wants Boeing to build 777X in the US.

Boeing formally launched the long-awaited 777X program at the Dubai Air Show in mid-November. According to a press release from Boeing dated Nov 17, 2013, the twin-aisle 777X received 259 orders from Emirates, Etihad Airways, Lufthansa and Qatar Airways. “The combined value of the agreements is more than $95 billion at list prices”, according to the press release. Boeing touts the 777X as including the most advanced commercial engine ever—the GE9X by GE Aviation—and an all-new high-efficiency composite wing with a longer span than today's 777.

The AP (11/18, Batrawy) reports that Boeing dominated the Dubai Airshow, netting a total of $100 Billion in orders in 342 total orders “more than twice the value of those seen by European rival Airbus, who said it took 142 orders worth some $40 billion….The long-range, twin-aisle 777 holds about 365 passengers, making it Boeing's second-biggest plane. Since its first flight in 1994, it's been a best seller for Boeing, which has sold more 777s than any of its other current large planes.”
Boeing 777X
The Seattle Times (11/17) reported in its “Boeing Blog” that there has been a “tug-of-war among potential customers” about the plane’s specifications. Several experts warned that giving some customers too much could hurt Boeing, since few customers are going to need the capabilities the Persian Gulf carriers may want. However, Emirates is now the world’s biggest airline and difficult to ignore.

Bloomberg News (11/16, Johnsson, Wall) reports “The 777 program is central to Boeing’s efforts to maintain its lead in the lucrative wide-body market and fend off Airbus SAS, which is positioning its largest A350 as a competing model. Updating wide-body planes requires manufacturers to carefully balance break-through features with proven systems as costs and risks are amplified on long-distance flights.”

Also covering the story are The Wall Street Journal (11/18, Jones, Cameron, Subscription Publication), Reuters (11/17, Hepher, Menon, Sleiman), and Aviation Week (11/17, Norris).

In related news, The Wall Street Journal (11/20, Jones, Subscription Publication) reports that “Emirates president says Boeing can better manage process in own facilities” to avoid problems that beset the 787 Dreamliner development.

An interesting engineering tidbit is offered by Jason Paur at Wired (11/20). He notes that “tiny holes” in the plane’s tail are “one of the airliner’s most innovative features.” The holes help maintain laminar air flow over the tail, thus reducing the amount of drag on the plane. Paur notes that NASA and Airbus also have researched how these holes can improve efficiency. Meanwhile, the “next generation of the idea,” an active flow control system, was recently tested by Boeing and NASA in a NASA wind tunnel. If successful, that could result in “fuel savings of 1–2%.” The company is using a similar innovation on the 787-9, the stretched version of the Dreamliner, according to the article.

Published Date : 12/2/2013

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