A prototype Boeing 777X during its maiden flight to Everett (United States), January 25, 2020. - Ted S. Warren / AP / SIPA

Boeing's new long-haul, the 777X, took off on Saturday for its maiden flight from Paine Airfield to Everett in the northwest of the United States. " Yes ! Take-off of the Boeing triple 7 X ", exclaimed Josh Green, a member of the aeronautical manufacturer's communication team when the aircraft's wheels came off the runway before rushing into the clouds, at 6.10 p.m. GMT.

The first Boeing # 777X is in flight. After a few hours of flying, the jet will land at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington.

Track the flight here: https://t.co/ekfjglCcb7 pic.twitter.com/XRTetREL4M

- Boeing Airplanes (@BoeingAirplanes) January 25, 2020

Shortly before, the pilots had deployed the tips of the wings - the winglets - so characteristic of this aircraft. These folding tips allow to improve the lift in flight but fold when the aircraft is on the ground to be able to serve a maximum of airports. The thrust of the two giant engines of the triple 7 X, manufactured by General Electric, then caused immense sprays of water on the runway before giving the aircraft enough speed to take off.

An order book of 340 units

This inaugural flight, which should last several hours if all goes well, marks the beginning of a whole battery of flight tests that should lead to the certification of the aircraft. The plane will land on Boeing Field in the suburbs of Seattle. Boeing was forced to postpone this flight Thursday and Friday due to the weather and especially the wind.

The 777X, which can carry 384 to 426 passengers, has an order book of 340 units, mainly from seven major airlines, including Emirates, Lufthansa, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airways. It is supposed to compete with the A350 of the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus.

The first deliveries are not expected before “the beginning of 2021”, instead of mid-2020 as initially planned, because the period of test flights should be extended and the approval procedure deepened. This aircraft indeed encountered significant problems during pressurization tests, knowingly exceeding normal conditions of use to ensure the reliability of the equipment, last September.

The 777X is supposed to consolidate Boeing's dominance over Airbus in the long-haul, a position weakened by the imminent reduction in production rates for the 787 "Dreamliner", due to the lack of firm orders from China.


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