777-9X Images; K66137-03; 777x; view from left ; 777x over clouds; full plane view;

MIAMI — Boeing has announced today the completion of the firm configuration of the 777-9, the first variant of the 777X program currently in development.

According to a mailed statement, the Boeing 777X team has reached this milestone in the program after completing the configuration trade studies and “working closely with airline customers and key suppliers to optimize the configuration of the new airplane.” These studies are required to finalize the capability and basic design of the new generation airliner. “Wind tunnel test results, aerodynamic performance and structural loads are also evaluated to ensure the airplane meets the operational requirements” the company said.

“It’s great to see the airlines and industry team side-by-side with us as we achieve this important milestone,” said Bob Feldmann, vice president and general manager of the 777X program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “The team has followed a disciplined process to complete all of the requirements for this stage of the program.”

Currently, the 777 production line is making the transition into the new program. In the Boeing Media Days event held last June, Elizabeth Lund, Vice President and General Manager 777 Program and Everett Site assured that the production line is being “de-risked” as the company still refines the current 777-300ER in production, so that “this will be a great bridge aircraft. We continue investing in the current 777, not just waiting on the X.”

The 777X family includes two variants, the 777-8 and 777-9, intended to upgrade the current Boeing 777 family aircraft in production, and to compete with the Airbus A350 variants in its market segment.

“The program is right where we want it to be,” added Feldmann. “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.”full777x-2Autoclaves On The Move

Randy Tinseth, vice president, marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, reported in his blog that the first of three autoclaves, measuring 28 feet wide by 120 feet long, was moved on Wednesday night from a site adjacent to Paine Field en route to the new 777X Composite Wing Center located in Everett.

As of July 30, Boeing has added to its books a total of 306 777X aircraft ordered from more than half a dozen customers, including Asian, European and Middle East carriers. The program remains on track ahead to its entry into production in 2017, and first deliveries are set to begin in 2020.