The world's longest and largest twin-engine airliner, the Boeing 777-9X, has finally taken to the skies for its maiden flight.
“Based on the popular 777 and with proven technologies from the 787 Dreamliner, the 777X took off in front of thousands at Paine Field in Everett, Washington, at 10:09 a.m. local time for a three hour, 51 minute flight over Washington State before landing at Seattle's Boeing Field,” Boeing said in a press release on January 25.
Designed to carry up to 426 passengers on routes of 14,000 kilometers, a distance that would cover most long-haul routes, the 777-9X is expected to become one of Boeing's key aircraft in the years ahead.
The 777X, a program launched back in November 2013, is the successor to the most successful wide-body airliner ever built: the 777, which first entered service nearly 25 years ago.
At 76.72 meters long, the 777-9 variant is the longest commercial airliner ever built. With a fuselage stretch of 2.86 meter over its predecessor 777-300ER, the 777-9 is able to accommodate up to three additional rows of economy seats 10 abreast, for a total of up to 426 passengers in a typical two class configuration.
With the A380 and 747-8 Intercontinental ending their runs, the 777-9 stands alone as the largest airliner by passenger capacity being built in the world. Its main competition, Airbus' A350-1000, is proportioned more like the smaller 777-300ER.
Boeing said it expects to deliver the first 777X in 2021, adding that “the program has won 340 orders and commitments from leading carriers around the world, including ANA, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines.”