Boeing Episode IV: A New Hope

Boeing Starts Testing of New Jumbo Jet, the 777X

Neal Freyman

Can Boeing's new jet also lift the company's fortunes?  JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images
JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images

Ain’t she a beaut? Boeing’s newest plane model, the 777X, successfully completed its maiden voyage on Saturday. It lifted off at 10:09am PT, hung out in the air long enough for pilots to qualify for pretzels (about four hours), and touched down to a big sigh of relief from Boeing execs.

Zoom out: Boeing is hoping the 777X (or 777-9, officially) will help it move past the ongoing crisis around the 737 Max, the company’s bestselling model that’s been grounded for almost a year.

If Boeing really wanted to make the 737 Max go away, it could just stick the plane in one of the 777X’s massive General Electric engines, which can swallow a 737 Max fuselage whole.
One other quirk of the 777X is its folding wingtips that allow it to fit into the same parking bays as its predecessors.

Looking ahead…the 777X is expected to enter service in 2021. But concerns linger over its enormous size (will the economics work out?) and the FAA certification process.

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