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Boeing 777X (777-9) makes its India debut

Boeing's latest widebody 777-9 takes center stage at Wings India 2024, poised to redefine travel experience

January 31, 2024 By Ayushee Chaudhary Photo(s): By SP Guide Pubns, Boeing
Boeing 777X at Wings India '24 held in Hyderabad. Boeing claims 777X is much more efficient and futuristic compared to A350 by Airbus.

In a moment of great anticipation and excitement, Boeing made its mark on Indian soil with the grand debut of its latest marvel, the widebody 777-9 aircraft. Standing proudly at the static display area of Wings India 2024 in Hyderabad, this colossal machine, touted as the world's largest and most fuel-efficient twin-engine jet, captured the attention of aviation enthusiasts and industry experts alike.

Derived from the immensely successful 777 and incorporating advanced technologies from the 787 Dreamliner family, the 777-9 is a testament to Boeing's commitment to pushing the boundaries of aviation. Unveiling the newest member of Boeing's market-leading widebody family, the 777-9 promises not only to be the world's largest but also the most efficient twin-engine jet to grace the skies.

Ryan Weir, Boeing Vice President, Commercial Sales and Marketing for India, expressed enthusiasm, stating, "We welcome the opportunity to introduce the state-of-the-art 777-9 to India and look forward to its induction in our customers' fleets over the coming years. The 777-9 will become the flagship of many airlines around the world."

Inside the Boeing 777-9 Test aircraft that came to Wings India 2024. Detailed characterstics of the aircraft were presented by Madeleine Edbom, Regional Director - Product Marketing at Boeing. Also, this reporter with both Pilots of the aircraft.

Air India, in a strategic move to bolster its fleet and cater to the surging demand for international air travel in South Asia, has placed a substantial order for 10 of these aircraft. Boeing's order book for the 777X family, encompassing the 777-8 and 777-9 passenger models along with the 777-8 Freighter, has soared beyond 450, underscoring the global demand for this cutting-edge aircraft.

The airplane has had 3,000 hours of flight test and 1,000 cycles. Boeing has not started certification flight testing yet but they have had good results from their flight test programme. They have done almost all of their Boeing flight test programme and are confident of the airplane's performance.

Inside the 777-9

Inside the Boeing 777-9

At the show, an immersive display of the 777-9 flight test airplane offered a sneak peek into the passenger experience of the future. The static display of the flight test airplane was complimented with a mock-up cabin in the exhibition area. Here are some highlights from the captivating tour inside the aircraft:

The static display of the flight test airplane was complimented with a mock-up cabin in the exhibition area.

  • Capacity and Innovation: The 777-9 boasts a remarkable capacity ranging from 426 seats (configured for premium economy) to 515 (mostly for economy). It claims the title of the largest production commercial airplane, with the largest wing ever built by Boeing.
  • Unique Folding Wing Tip: With a groundbreaking folding wing tip and the power of the GE engine, the aircraft can automatically fold its wings during taxiing, ensuring compatibility with all airports currently served by the legacy 777. This innovation asserts to enable 10 folds of airport landing ability.
  • Cabin Comfort: Passengers onboard the 777-9 can enjoy reduced cabin altitude to about 6,000 ft, and increased humidity, creating a more comfortable environment. The cabin, 4 inches wider than the current legacy 777, facilitates a spacious and airy travel experience. Extra emphasis has been laid on the lights inside the cabin to smoothen the passenger experience further and enhance the ambience so that the passenger arrives at his/her destination less fatigued. The lights have been aligned with natural colors of the sky, painting the ceiling from sunset shades to starry night skies. The two sides of aisle can even have different shades at the same time and the airlines can choose to customise the lighting.
  • Technological Advancements: The flight deck is equipped with large displays, similar in size to those on the 787, with advanced touch screen capabilities. Boeing has further enhanced and advanced the cockpit, providing a mix of familiarity and innovation for pilots.
  • Windows of the Future: The 777-9 boasts electronically dimmable windows that are 30 per cent larger than those on the A350, offering passengers breathtaking views and a customisable experience.

A Leap in Efficiency and Sustainability

Boeing's 777X family aims to set new standards in efficiency, sustainability, and passenger comfort. With 20 per cent greater fuel efficiency than the 777-300ER and a commitment to Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) compatibility by 2030, the 777-9 presents a vision of a greener and more sustainable future for air travel.

The aircraft's innovative features, including an all-composite wing spanning 72 meters, emphasise Boeing's dedication to efficiency. The folding wing tip and the larger GE9X engine contribute to unprecedented levels of aerodynamic excellence.

The 777-9 boasts a remarkable capacity ranging from 426 seats to 515.

Boeing's 777-9, projected to enter service in 2025, represents not just a new aircraft but a leap into the future of aviation. With its emphasis on ambiance, experience, and advanced technology, the 777-9 is poised to become a flagship for airlines worldwide, promising passengers a journey that goes beyond transportation–a true flight experience of the future.

On being asked about the key futuristic elements in this aircraft by Jayant Baranwal, Editor-in-Chief of SP's Aviation, the team highlighted its 20 per cent more fuel efficiency than the 777-300ER, so on a per seat basis, it is 10 per cent more efficient than the A350-100. The test team is confident that 777-9 will replace all of the bigger airplanes out there.

Atmanirbhar Aerospace Ecosystem: Boeing's Commitment to India

At Wings India 2024, Boeing not only showcased its groundbreaking aircraft but also reiterated its commitment to fostering an Atmanirbhar aerospace ecosystem in India. The exhibit featured a dazzling array of cutting-edge technologies, services, sustenance solutions, and training capabilities. Boeing's dedication to India's civil aviation growth and its alignment with the Atmanirbhar Bharat vision were prominently highlighted.

The airplane has had 3,000 hours of flight test and 1,000 cycles of Boeing's flight test programme.

Salil Gupte, President, Boeing India, affirmed this commitment, stating, "Our dedication to bolstering India's civil aviation growth remains unwavering, providing efficient aircraft, top-notch services, and innovative solutions in line with the Atmanirbhar Bharat vision. We are excited to reinforce our commitment to India's aerospace industry as we showcase our leading products and services at Wings India 2024."