25 MARCH 2019
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Pictures of Boeing’s new B777-9X, destined to be the world’s biggest twin-engine commercial airliner, began appearing last week after being delayed by the inquiry into the B737 8 Max accidents.
The pictures emerged after the company marked the completion of painting the first flight-test aircraft by inviting staff to see for themselves.
As well as being notable for its size, the new aircraft (below) will have folding wings, first seen last October during a webcast from the Boeing factory. These will enable the aircraft, whose operating wingspan will be 235ft 5in, to use existing airport gates.
Boeing says the innovation, which features 12ft hinged wingtips with locking pins to prevent them from folding during flight, will also give the aircraft extra lift, helping it to save an overall 12% more fuel than the Airbus A350.
Seating 350-425 passengers, the B777-9X is due to enter service in late 2020, with test flights beginning earlier in the year. Its range is expected to be up to 14,000km (8,699mi). Emirates, All Nippon Airways and Lufthansa are among airlines that have placed orders.
Boeing says the new X family is part of the engineering revolution that is allowing more fuel-efficient two-engine aircraft to operate ultra-long-haul routes. The X family will come with its own newly-designed engine, the General Electric GE9X, now in its test phase.
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