DALLAS – Boeing has confirmed via its Q1 financial results that delays in its 777X program would cause the first deliveries to begin in 2025.
Boeing reported a US$1.2bn first-quarter 2022 loss compared to a US$561bn loss in 2021, citing a series of new one-time costs on its Russia business, the Air Force One presidential jet, and the new 777X.
Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun announced that while the team was advancing well in development and testing, delivery of the first 777-9 airplane was “now expected in 2025, based on an updated assessment of the time required to meet certification requirements.”
The American aerospace company will also halt the production of the 777X through 2023 to “minimize inventory and the number of airplanes requiring change incorporation,” resulting in approximately US$1.5bn of “abnormal costs” starting in Q2 and “continuing until 777-9 production resumes.”
Emirates (EK) Chairman Tim Clark already stated on April 7 that he believed the airline would acquire the new version of the triple seven before 2025. The Air Current first reported that Boeing intended to push the certification deadline for the twin-engine wide-body jet until late 2024, or by another 9 to 12 months.
Last year, EK said that it was possible that it would replace some of its ordered 777Xs with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. “We will not accept an [aircraft] unless it is performing 100% to contract,” Clark said, speaking in a pre-recorded interview for the Arabian Travel Market trade show in May.
Clark’s opinion holds considerable weight among aircraft manufacturers. He is the CEO of one of the world’s biggest long-haul airlines, which operates around 140 Boeing 777-300 and 115 Airbus A380 aircraft. EK already has 126 777X’s on order.
Boeing has encountered various roadblocks in its quest to have the 777X ready for delivery. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) informed Boeing in May 2021 that the 777X would not be certified until mid-to-late 2023.
The FAA also denied Boeing’s request to clear a certification hurdle, citing a lack of data and a preliminary safety assessment for the FAA to study and decide.
In a June 2021 letter signed by Ian Wong, the manager of the local FAA office in Seattle, WA, the agency cited numerous concerns with the aircraft. The FAA stated that certification of the plane was “realistically” two or more years away, noting that the critical avionics system proposed for the Boeing 777X aircraft did not meet safety requirements.
The Boeing 777X
Boeing’s 777X is a bigger variant of the 777. It will be the “world’s largest and most efficient twin-engine jet,” according to Boeing’s website.
The new aircraft has also been designed with sustainability in mind, with Boeing claiming that the 777X will consume 10% less fuel, emit 10% less pollution, and have 10% lower operating expenses than its competition – presumably the Airbus.
The 777X has been in development since 2013, and it was originally scheduled to be delivered to airlines in June 2020. In January 2022, Boeing launched its 777X freighter with a 50-plane order from Qatar Airways (QR). The type is Boeing’s first new jet model in nearly five years.
Update on the Dreamliner Program
Boeing has also suspended deliveries of its 787 jet due to a series of production issues, submitting its certification plan to the FAA.
The company says that it has completed rework on the initial Dreamliners and that it is working closely with the FAA on when deliveries will resume. Boeing states, “The program is producing at a very low rate and will continue to do so until deliveries resume, with an expected gradual return to five per month over time.”
Commercial Airplanes delivered 95 airplanes during the quarter and its backlog included nearly 4,200 airplanes valued at US$291bn.
Featured image: Boeing Company N779WX Boeing 777-9X. Photo: Daniel Gorun/Airways