Boeing is preparing for another significant delay in the 777X program with plans to formally slip the jet’s certification target to the last quarter of 2024. The plane maker is triaging competing development priorities along with design, regulatory and market challenges for its enormous flagship.
An additional nine to 12-month delay is expected, according to three people familiar or briefed on its preparations. Boeing last year delayed the 777X’s arrival to late 2023 – already three years beyond its original 2020 target. The additional delay to the 400-seat 777X program would extend the jet’s gestation to more than a decade past its November 2013 launch with a trio of Middle Eastern airlines.
The intervening decade has rewritten the company’s assumptions that once underpinned the enthusiasm for the 777X with years of massive overproduction of twin-aisle aircraft, an industry-reshaping pandemic and the worst safety crisis in Boeing’s history.
Boeing is juggling scarce engineering and regulatory resources and sprinting to complete its 737 Max 10 by year end with a looming legislative deadline that mandates safety equipment. All this while it is ramping up overall 737 production and concurrently seeking to restart 787 deliveries which have been halted for nearly a year due to systemic manufacturing quality issues.
With the western hemisphere’s air travel recovery taking hold and its 737 Max now back in service for nearly 18 months in most countries, Boeing has been juggling its biggest production and development priorities and the 777X is falling to the back of the pack.
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