Airbus 777x

Boeing 777 A Boeing 777 operated by Cathay Pacific in 2011. The 777 is a low-wing twinjet; the original -200 is the shortest variant. Role Wide-body airliner National origin United States Manufacturer Boeing Commercial Airplanes First flight June 12, 1994 Introduction June 7, 1995 with United Airlines Status In production Primary users Emirates United Airlines Air France Cathay Pacific. Boeing and Airbus often come out with new variants of their plane models. What’s more, Boeing isn’t ceding ground in the wide-body arena. The new Boeing 777X completed its first flight in January. Boeing’s new wide-body 777X aircraft could replace the soon-to-be-obsolete Airbus A380, leading aviation experts say. The 777X, described by Boeing as the largest and most efficient twin-engine jet in the world, has a wing span of 72 metres. But when on the ground the aircraft’s distinctive folding wingtips reduce the wingspan to 65 metres. Boeing’s closely scrutinized 777X program has accumulated more than 750 test hours since the first 777-9 made its initial flight in January 2020. The company hopes to receive FAA approval shortly.

A Boeing 777X test aircraft has been ferried to Fairbanks, Alaska, to undergo cold soak testing. This week’s move is part of the type’s preparation program ahead of its introduction in 2023.

Extreme conditions

According to Airline Ratings, the unit currently holds registration number N779XZ. It was ferried from Seattle to the Alaskan city to perform a series of tests. These experiments include the monitoring of how significant cold conditions can impact different parts of the plane. Therefore, Alaska is the perfect location at this time of year.

Airbus 777x

There are several factors to consider with this aspect of testing. For example, metals contract at different durations. Moreover, lubricants may expend their viscosity, which can create wear problems for moving parts. Plastic and rubber materials could also become brittle. The trial involves shutting down the plane for 24 hours before actioning a cold start.

Testing includes the following factors:

  • Validation of systems behaviors at considerably low temperatures
  • Rejected take-offs
  • Engine and auxiliary power unit (APU) start after the cold soak
  • Thrust-reverser tests with snowy conditions

Change of plan

This move follows important developments regarding the 777X program earlier this month. The manufacturer reduced its number of firm orders of the type by 118 units. This has left a total of 191 firm orders for highly-anticipated aircraft.

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In the same week, reports emerged that Emirates, the 777X’s largest customer has been mulling over the prospects of switching some of its orders for the wide-body to the smaller 787. The Middle Eastern powerhouse could swap out up to 45 units in favor of the Dreamliner. Overall, these reports emerge following the announcement that the first 777X won’t be delivered until 2023

Still focused

Altogether, there have been complications for Boeing across the board over the last year amid the 737 MAX saga and the pandemic. However, despite struggles across the industry and a delay to the 777X’s entry to service, the company is still determined to crack on with crucial testing procedures such as this one in Alaska.

Airbus 777x

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The fourth 777X test unit had hit the air for the first time in September. The quartet will prove vital for Boeing as it seeks to commit to its new introduction date

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Also Read: Airbus Seeks ETOPS Certification For The BelugaXL

(Bloomberg) -- Boeing Co.’s biggest 777X customer is weighing whether to swap as many as a third of its orders for the smaller 787 Dreamliner, said a person familiar with the matter, adding to the uncertainty swirling around the behemoth jet’s future.

Gulf carrier Emirates is seeking to switch between 30 and 40 of its 115 commitments for the 777X to the Dreamliner as it calibrates fleet plans, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing private considerations. The moves could further squeeze the profits of Boeing’s newest jet, which faces a lengthy regulatory review and design changes.

The U.S. planemaker signaled Monday that it’s at risk of losing nearly 40% its 777X order haul because the latest delay to the plane’s debut -- now slated for late 2023 -- gives customers the right to walk away from sales contracts.

Boeing lowered the 777X backlog to just 191 jets in a regulatory filing, far fewer than the 309 firm orders listed on its website. The drop is due to an accounting standard that requires sales at risk of falling through to be removed from backlog, the company said in an email.

Airbus A350 Vs 777x

The falling tally underscores the precarious future of the 777X, which is heir to the 747 jumbo as the largest passenger plane in the company’s product lineup. The coronavirus pandemic has crushed demand for twin-aisle aircraft built to cruise across oceans, and orders for wide-body jets such as the 777X, the 787 and competing Airbus SE models are expected to be the last to recover from the slump.

© Bloomberg Boeing 777X Takes First Flight Into Troubled Skies for Jumbos

The Boeing 777X airplane.

Photographer: Chona Kasinger/Bloomberg

Gallery: Sriwijaya Air flight 182: Boeing jet went missing after takeoff, Indonesia officials say (USA TODAY)

Boeing announced a $6.5 billion charge for the 777X when it reported fourth-quarter earnings last week and said the latest delay would leave the plane’s debut three years behind its original schedule. Cancellations, production cuts and flight-testing risks could bring additional losses, the company warned in its annual financial filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Emirates, one of the 777X’s initial customers, declined to comment. It had previously signaled its intention to swap more of its 115 orders for Dreamliners after whittling down its original order in late 2019. The Dubai-based carrier may have more leverage to do so if its contracts have provisions -- standard in the industry -- that allow customers to bolt if an airplane’s delivery is more than a year late.

Delays for the 777X “have resulted in, and may continue to result in, customers having the right to terminate orders and or substitute orders for other Boeing aircraft,” the company said in the SEC filing. Such contract terms wiped out more than 1,100 planes from Boeing’s backlog of another model, the 737 Max, amid a lengthy grounding after two fatal accidents.

Boeing declined to comment, but pointed to Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith’s comments during a Jan. 27 call with analysts.

“The decline in backlog in the fourth quarter reflected aircraft order cancellations and removal of aircraft orders from our backlog due to the ASC 606 accounting standard, including our most recent assessment of 777X backlog due to the revised schedule,” Smith said.

Emirates boasts the world’s largest long-haul fleet of Airbus SE A380 and Boeing 777.

(Adds details on Emirates fleet in final paragraph)

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