The Dubai Airshow saw the largest product launch in commercial airliner history Sunday, with Boeing
receiving agreements for 259 of its new 777X twin-aisle jets, representing a combined value of $95 billion.
Four airlines across Europe and the Middle East committed to the 777X, including Etihad Airways with 25, Lufthansa with 34, Quatar Airways with 50 and Emirates with 150 aircraft. The launch is the largest product launch in commercial aircraft history by dollar value, Boeing said.
Boeing's 777X is an upgraded version of its current 777 family aircraft, with two planned versions, the 777-8X and 777-9X, both scheduled for first delivery in 2020.
Ray Conner, CEO and president of Boeing's commercial airplane division, said the 777X will be "12 percent more fuel efficient than any competing airplane." The next generation 777 will feature GE Aviation's GE9X engines and a new composite wing with a longer span than the current 777.
The 777X will be a competitor to the Airbus
A350XWB, which is scheduled to enter into service next year with launch customer Qatar Airways. On Monday, Boeing outlined performance characteristics for the 777X, including a greater range than the A350 family, with 8,200 nautical miles planned for the 777-9X and 9,300 for the 777-8X. The flight deck will incorporate technologies that are featured on the 787 flight deck, which boasts wide format flight deck displays, a dual electronic flight bag setup and a software flight management control display unit; however Boeing would not confirm which specific 787 technologies would be integrated into the 777X flight deck.
The record-breaking order volume confirmed Boeing's projection released ahead of the show, forecasting a commercial market in the Middle East that will require 2,610 new aircraft worth $550 billion over the next 20 years. According to Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing for Boeing, international air traffic growth in the Middle East continues to outpace the rest of the world as the region benefits from providing connectivity between Europe, Africa and Asia.
Design of the 777X is currently underway, and Boeing is expected to announce suppliers later this year with production scheduled to begin in 2017.