SAN FRANCISCO: Boeing has delayed the entry into service of an ultra-long range version of its forthcoming 777X widebody, the US planemaker has said.
The fresh delay comes as the grounding of Boeing’s money-spinning 737 MAX single-aisle entered a sixth month in August, and as the world’s largest planemaker faces engine-related delays on the 777X widebody that have pushed the first flight of the 777-9 into 2020, said a Reuters report.
“We reviewed our development program schedule and the needs of our current 777X customers and decided to adjust the schedule,” Boeing spokesman Paul Bergman said by e-mail, adding that the manufacturer remained committed to the 777-8.
“The adjustment reduces risk in our development program, ensuring a more seamless transition to the 777-8. We continue to engage with our current and potential customers on how we can meet their fleet needs. This includes our valued customer Qantas.”
The delay in the slower-selling, longer-range 777-8 will hamper Boeing’s ability to provide a plane in line with the schedule for Qantas Airways’ plan for 21-hour non-stop Sydney-London flights, it said.
The Australian airline had hoped for first deliveries of the planes in 2022 and the launch of the world’s longest commercial flight in 2023.
To date, Emirates and Qatar Airways are Boeing’s only customers for the 777-8, having ordered 35 and 10 respectively. The Seattle Times in June reported Emirates was renegotiating its 777X orders.