Boeing 777X: The widebody of the future
Many airlines structure their fleets with regional, narrowbody and widebody aircraft, unless you're a low-cost airline with only one type of plane in their fleet, or Emirates. Today, we're going to be specifically investigating wide-body aircraft, which stands out from the other types due to it's superior range for long-haul flights, advanced systems like glass cockpits to help pilots fly with ease, and twin-aisle cabin which helps to carry significantly more passengers while also providing utmost comfort in any class.
The Boeing 777 excels in all aspects, and that is reflected with many airlines including this aircraft in their fleets. However, the next iteration of this aircraft is already around the corner: the Boeing 777X. Currently undergoing flight tests, the first aircraft is set to be delivered in 2024 to Emirates. Many of you may be wondering: how is the Boeing 777X going to live up to its predecessor? Let's find out!
Like the 777, the 777X aims to follow the same principles of comfort, range and efficiency that Boeing established since the launch of the 777 in 1995. When it comes to comfort, the 777X comes in two variants, the -8 and the -9. The -8 aims to carry 385 passengers in a two-class configuration while the larger -9 is expected to carry 425 passengers. However, it will be at the airline's hands to customise the aircraft however they want, as the earlier 777-300ER is capable to carry 550 passengers in a high-density, single class configuration.
The 777X cabin is nearly 20ft wide, and comfortably seats passengers in a 3-4-3 configuration for Economy, 2-3-2 for Premium Economy and 1-2-1 for Business. The 777X will utilize electronically dimmable window shades which are already found in the Boeing 787.
When it comes to range and efficiency, the 777X introduces radical new changes in the aviation industry. The first major innovation is the new composite wings, which give the 777X a wingspan of 71.8 meters, which would not yield any clearance between planes when parked at a jetbridge. To solve this problem, Boeing engineered folding wingtips which would fold to allow the 777X to fit at jetbridges, then be extended before takeoff.
The second innovation comes in the form of the engines: the General Electric GE9X. At 3.4m wide, the engine cover is wider than a Boeing 737 fuselage. Compared to the 777-300ER's GE90 engines, the GE9X offers 10% improved aircraft fuel burn and 5% improved fuel consumption against any other engine used on wide-body aircraft. With extremely efficient wings and engines, the 777-9 has a range of up to 13,500km while the 777-8 has a range of just over 16,000km, which is enough to fly the world's longest flight from Singapore to New York.
With these innovations, the Boeing 777X will be decisive for the aviation industry for airlines, and once it enters into service, the world will get accustomed to seeing it's folding wingtips and massive engines for years to come.