Boeing Commercial Airplanes reported it has completed “the firm configuration milestone” for the 777-9, having worked with the new aircraft’s major suppliers and airlines that have booked orders for it, to finalize various details.
The 777X will be a redesigned version of the 777, the long-range, wide-body jet that is the world’s largest twin-engine aircraft. It is intended to compete with the new Airbus A350, and will be available in two models, the 777-8X and 777-9X.
Boeing reportedly has 320 orders and commitments for the jets from Lufthansa, Etihad Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Qatar Airways, All Nippon Airways, and other unidentified carriers.
“Firm configuration” describes the configuration trade studies required to finalize the airplane's capability and basic design. Other necessary details to be evaluated include wind tunnel test results, aerodynamic performance, and structural loads. With these completed, the 777X designers will be ready to begin detailed design of parts, assemblies and other systems for the airplane.
Once the detailed designs are completed and released, production can begin. Boeing plans to begin 777X assembly in 2017, and the first deliveries are scheduled for 2020.
There will be two versions of the 777X, designated 777-8 and 777-9. The 777-8 will carry about 350 passengers in three classes and will have a range of and has a range of 9,300 nautical miles; the 777-9 will seat up to 400, with a range of 8,200 nautical miles.
Boeing has said both variants will provide range, payload, and fuel-burn advantages over current models and competing long-range aircraft.
"The program is right where we want it to be," stated Bob Feldmann, vice president and general manager for the 777X program. "We have an airplane and production system that are on track and on schedule, and we remain laser focused on meeting our commitments to our customers."