Six new aircraft launching soon

10 May 2017 by Craig Bright
Boeing 737 MAX 8

Boeing 737 Max 8

Capacity: 162 (two class); 184 (single class)
Launch date: May 2017
Launch airline: Malindo Air
Details: The 737 Max family is Boeing’s fastest-selling aircraft, according to the US manufacturer, with more than 3,700 orders from 86 customers as of April 2017. The first of these to roll out is the Max 8, which was unveiled in December 2015.

Just who would be the first airline to fly the aircraft has been constantly changing. Previously, it had been expected to be delivered to Norwegian this May, ahead of the July delivery to Southwest Airlines, which was actually the first customer to place an order for the aircraft and the original launch customer. Now, however, Malaysia-based Malindo Air looks like it will be the first to fly the aircraft on May 22, supplanting both Norwegian and Southwest Airlines.

Key airlines with Max 8 orders include Virgin Australia, United Airlines, American Airlines and Air Canada. 

Airbus A350-1000

Airbus A350-1000

Capacity: 440
Launch date: 2017
Launch airline: Qatar Airways
Details: Airbus’s largest twin-engined airliner ever, the A350-1000 is expected to have a capacity of about 40 people more than the A350-900, providing a max capacity of 440 and a typical capacity of 366. The aircraft completed its first flight in November 2016, and is currently expected to be delivered before the end of 2017.

As of May 2017, 12 airlines have placed orders for the A350-1000 for a total of 211 aircraft. These include launch customer Qatar Airways – the A350-1000 will be the second of its aircraft to feature its recently unveiled Q Suite business class seat – along with Virgin Atlantic and United Airlines, among others. 

Boeing B787-10 Dreamliner

Boeing 787-10

Capacity: 310
Launch date: 2018
Launch airline: Singapore Airlines
Details: Completing its first flight in late March 2017 a few months after its official unveiling in February, Boeing’s newest Dreamliner is about 5.5 metres longer than the 787-9, making it the longest aircraft in the family. Among the airlines that have confirmed orders for the new aircraft are All Nippon Airways, British Airways, Etihad Airways, Eva Air, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and United Airlines.

Key among the aircraft’s offerings is improved fuel efficiency – the 787-10 is 25 percent more fuel efficient per seat than the aircraft it is set to replace. 

MAX 9 Paint Roll Out

Boeing 737 Max 9

Capacity: 178 (two class); 204 (single class)
Launch date: 2018
Launch airline: Lion Air
Details: Following on from the 737 Max 8 is the larger Max 9, expected to enter service in 2018. The aircraft was officially debuted in March 2017 and completed its first flight the following month. The recommended set up for the aircraft is two classes, though the Max 9 has a maximum capacity of 220 passengers – 31 more than the 189 maximum capacity of the Max 8. According to Boeing, the 3,515-nautical mile (6,510 kilometre) range of the aircraft will “open up new destinations in the single-aisle market”.

Both the Max 8 and Max 9 will be followed by the smaller Max 7 (expected to be delivered in 2019) and the higher-capacity Max 200.

Comac C919

Comac C919

Capacity: 158-168
Launch date: 2020
Launch airline: China Eastern Airlines
Details: A narrow-body aircraft designed to compete with Airbus’s A320 and Boeing’s 737 families, Chinese state-owned manufacturer Comac’s C919 completed its first flight from Shanghai Pudong International Airport last week. According to the Comac, some 570 orders have currently been confirmed for the C919 – most of those are Chinese carriers and lease customers – with the first delivery expected in 2020 to China Eastern Airlines. 

Boeing B777-9

Boeing 777-9

Capacity: 414 (two class); 349 (three class)
Launch date: 2020
Launch airline: Lufthansa
Details: The B777-9 is one of two members of Boeing’s upcoming 777-X family of aircraft (the other being the smaller 777-8 variant) and is designed to be longer than Boeing’s current 777-300ER aircraft. The manufacturer unveiled the full technical details of its B777-9 aircraft in early April 2017, including a recommended seating plan that showed a 10-across seating plan in economy class – an unpopular but increasingly common trend as airlines look to increase revenue by moving away from the previous nine-across set up. 

Among the airlines that have already confirmed orders for the aircraft are All Nippon Airways, Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines.

Which of these aircraft are you most looking forward to experiencing? Let us know in our online poll.

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