Boeing’s Board of Directors will decide as soon as April if they will give the go ahead and start selling the latest and newest models of the Boeing B777 family, the B777-8X and -9X.
The B777-8X is designed to replace the B777-200LR and -300ER series while the B777-9X model offers 400+ seats. Boeing has not yet decided on engine options, but is considering to power both the B777-8X and -9X with a newer and more powerful GE90 which would be the GE9X. However, some airlines would like to have a choice and enjoy the competitive market of having more than one engine option that sometimes (if not usually) lowers the price.
“This decision to work with GE going forward reflects the best match to the development program, schedule and airplane performance,” said Bob Feldmann, vice president and general manager, 777X Development, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “We are studying airplane improvements that will extend today’s 777 efficiencies and reliability for the next two decades or longer, and the engines are a significant part of that effort. Our focus is on providing the most competitive offering to our customers in the large twin aisle market.”
The most probable launch customer will be Emirates Airlines (UAE/EK) who is putting the most pressure on Boeing to offer the B777-8X and -9X. The question is IF Emirates becomes the launch customer, which model will it be: the B777-8X, the -9X or both? We should also note that Emirates is the largest Airbus A380-800 operator with a fleet of 31 and another 17 on order.
It will be interesting to see whether the B777-8X or its competitor the Airbus A350-800XWB will be the better seller.
The first flight of the B777-9X prototype (one of the two to be built) is planned for 2019, but that is still conditional on Boeing getting the green light to sell the new B777X family.