Picture the scene. You’re at the airport, safely nestled in the VIP lounge, away from the hustle and bustle of the crowds. The seats are comfortable, the atmosphere calm, and the service - attentive. Eventually you hear the final boarding call, and you’re forced to leave the relaxing and luxurious environment to board the aircraft.
But what if you didn’t have to leave the lounge at all?
Enter the Boeing 777x, the latest creation from one of most iconic and successful aviation brands looking to redefine aircraft luxury. And it looks like they might just pull it off.
Taking things to the next level
The Boeing 777x isn’t an average aircraft. It’s an all-in-one flying device, home away from home, and entertainment center. Luxurious features in private jets are nothing new, and these days many aircraft will come with perks that were previously unimaginable. But the Boeing 777x takes passenger experience to the next level and genuinely gives the impression you’re walking around a high-end property, not an aircraft.
The layout of the aircraft is a good place to start. There are multiple lounges dotted around the aircraft, but that’s just the beginning. You’ll also find a games room to help pass the time and an actual cinema. Gone are the days of prepping your laptop with entertainment ahead of a long flight.
Even the finest of private aircraft may require you to stoop a little, but not here. The ceilings are huge, stretching 8ft tall and even offering enough room for a walk-in wardrobe in the master suite. So, once you’ve watched a film at the cinema, you can produce your own fashion show.
Speaking of the master suite, the interiors here are not just thrown together on a whim. Boeing spared no expense in grouping together the best minds behind interior design experts: Jet Aviation, Greenpoint Technologies, and Unique Aircraft. The result? Sleek designs, matching colors, and fashionable furniture that really hits the sweet spot.
After a busy day of activities you might want to freshen up. And where to do so better than in your glass steam shower? Its beautiful cylindrical design completed with atmospheric blue light will help you relax. And in case it doesn't satisfy you fully, you can always check out the sealed Turkish bath.
It’s clear what makes the interior of the aircraft so spectacular but about the outside? Well, it has something special to offer too, namely the impressive folding wingtips.
Despite its incredible size, depth, and range, the carbon-fiber wings of the Boeing 777x achieve what the Airbus A380 has strived for. Because the tips of the wings can fold, the aircraft can be labeled as ICAO code E. Aside from other benefits such as reduced thrust and more fuel-efficient engines, this also gives bigger leeway to land on code E runways without having to seek special approval first.
From a technical perspective, the Boeing 777x fires on all cylinders. The stunning range of 13,400 miles is the longest in history. You can literally fly from one side of the world to the other, non-stop. Its engines – custom-built for the 777x – are the most fuel-efficient ever created for an aircraft of this type. Both the windows and cabin are larger than those of the aircraft’s inspiration, the 787 Dreamliner. In every imaginable way, this twin-engine jet outperforms its predecessors and peers.
Even without considering the incredible wings and performance, such a luxurious aircraft is appealing to the most demanding customers. But will the price tag deter potential suitors? If early orders are the proof, the answer is a resounding ‘no’.
Price and Planned Delivery Dates
To get your hands on one of the prestigious models, you’ll need to invest a massive $400 million.
Boeing is currently planning to produce just 21 per year and the orders have already sold out much ahead of the proposed launch. Since Boeing's first announced its 777x model back in November 2013, the biggest carriers including commercial airlines around the world such as Lufthansa, Etihad, Emirates, Qatar, and Cathay Pacific lined up. The nine-figure price tag hasn’t relinquished the interest in the aircraft which speaks volumes about its capabilities.
We won’t have to wait that long to see its potential becoming a reality; Boeing is expecting the 777x to take to the skies this year. The first test flight, because of bad weather conditions postponed from the previous day, finally took place on January 25, 2020. The flight from Paine Field in Everett was headed to Boeing Field in Seattle where it landed safely after 3 hours and 52 minutes.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Stan Deal said: 'Today's safe first flight of the 777x is a tribute to the years of hard work and dedication from our teammates, our suppliers and our community partners in Washington state and across the globe.' The successful beginning of the flight test program sheds promising light on the future of the 777x. If all goes well, investors will be able to enjoy their new Boeing in 2021. As the company assured on Twitter: 'This major milestone for the 777x airplane program begins the next critical phase of testing as we work towards certification and then delivery to customers in 2021'.
Joint venture with Embraer
Customers have huge expectations related to Boeing 777 models. The 777x will surely play a big role in the company's future. As well as working on this ground-breaking aircraft, Boeing is also teaming up with Embraer for a joint venture.
In July 2018, Boeing announced they would acquire 80% of Embraer’s commercial arm – a move valued at $4.75 billion. That's the equivalent of the cost of around 12 777x aircraft. Following a leak back in October 2018, Embraer officially unveiled its intentions to join forces with Boeing in and reached the deal on February 26, 2019.
It’s a move that spells safety for Embraer, and an increased stronghold for Boeing. Combined with their innovative aircraft, 2020 is certainly shaping up to be a very interesting year for Boeing.
Pictures courtesy of Jet Aviation and Greenpoint Technologies.