25 NOVEMBER 2013
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Still called the 777X, Boeing’s new incarnation of the world’s most successful wide-bodied twin jet is likely to be given an official title in 2015 when the aeroplane’s firm specification is released. The detailed design should be complete by 2016.
Production will begin the following year, with the first test flight scheduled for 2019 and initial delivery in 2020. The aircraft will feature a composite wing, which could be the largest in service to date, only restricted by the so-called ‘box’ available at airport stands. A folding wing has been suggested.
Boeing has not yet decided on the official launch customer for the new aircraft. Boeing's Vice President and General Manager of Aircraft Development, Scott Fancher, said: "It will be one of the four airline customers – Lufthansa, Emirates, Qatar Airways or Etihad".
In the meantime Boeing has still to make a decision as to where final assembly will take place, either at its traditional ‘wide-bodied’ home, Everett near Seattle, or perhaps at an entirely new plant. The plane maker had been in talks with unions since March to negotiate an eight-year contract extension but the offer was rejected in a vote by a 2-1 margin putting up to 31,000 jobs at risk. See also AND FINALLY. www.boeing.com/commercial
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