Boeing Co successfully staged the first flight of the world's largest twin-engined jetliner on Saturday in a respite from the crisis over its smallest model, the grounded 737 MAX. The 777X, a larger version of the 777 mini-jumbo, touched down at the historic Boeing Field outside Seattle at 2 pm (2200 GMT) after a debut which began almost four hours earlier at Boeing's revamped wide-body assembly lines north of the city. "It's a proud day for us," said the chief executive of Boeing's commercial airplane unit, Stan Deal.
Boeing's new long-haul 777X airliner made its first flight on Saturday, a step forward for the company whose broader prospects remain clouded by the 737 MAX crisis. A few minutes after 10:00 am local time (1800 GMT), the plane took off from the rain-slicked runway at Paine Field in Everett, Washington, home to Boeing's northwest US manufacturing site. "Yes!" Boeing spokesman Josh Green shouted as the plane's wheels finally lifted off the tarmac.
Boeing Co began the maiden flight on Saturday of the world's largest twin-engined jetliner as the embattled planemaker steps up competition with European rival Airbus in a respite from a crisis over its smaller 737 MAX. The 777X, a larger and more efficient version of Boeing's successful 777 mini-jumbo, took off outside Seattle at 10:09 a.m. local time (1.09 p.m. ET) after high winds forced the company to postpone two earlier attempts this week. Boeing officials said the maiden voyage would last 3-5 hours and herald months of testing and certification before the aircraft enters service with Emirates in 2021, a year later than originally scheduled because of snags during development.
To restore faith in the 737 MAX, Boeing needs to prove its flagship jet is not just airworthy but also a safe investment. Boeing said on Tuesday its troubled workhorse - grounded last March after two crashes in which 346 people died - should receive approval by mid-year from U.S regulators, paving the way for hundreds of jets to resume service later this year. "Even people who have committed to financing previously are wondering should I extend or should I just pull back to wait to see because they don't know the real value of their collateral going forward," said the head of an asset-management firm active in the sector, declining to be named to preserve relations with Boeing.