Boeing says that it now expects to deliver its first B777-9 aircraft in 2025, and will pause production of the aircraft next year.
The B777-9 is part of the manufacturer’s B777X series of aircraft, and had originally been scheduled to enter service in 2019.
The aircraft took its first flight in 2020, and made its international debut at the Dubai Airshow late last year.
Customers include Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, British Airways and Lufthansa, the last of which unveiled plans back in 2017 for a new business class seat which had been set to debut on the B777-9 from 2020.
The carrier had also planned to debut its new Zim Privacy premium economy seat on the B777-9, but will now fit the seat to 19 B747-8s, as well as new A350 and B787-9s as they are delivered.
In an update to employees on the group’s first quarter results, Boeing’s CEO Dave Calhoun said that the revised 2025 date was based on “an updated assessment of the time required to meet certification requirements”, adding that the pause in production would allow it to “minimize inventory and the number of airplanes requiring change incorporation”.
“We remain confident in the 777 programme and our customers continue to see the value in its compelling economics and sustainability benefits,” said Calhoun.
“Airplane programmes serve our market for several decades, and it is important we take the time now to position for long-term success.”
Calhoun also updated staff on the manufacturer’s B737 Max aircraft, which returned to service in late 2020, a year and nine months after the Boeing plane was grounded worldwide following two fatal crashes.
Calhoun said that the aircraft was “now approved to fly in nearly every country, and since late 2020, the fleet has safely flown more than one million flight hours with schedule reliability above 99 per cent”.
Boeing delivered 81 B737 Max aircraft in the first quarter of this year, including 34 in March, and Calhoun said that the group was on track to reach a production rate of 31 Max aircraft per month in the second quarter.
Boeing reported a net loss of $1.2 billion in the first quarter, but striking a positive note Calhoun said that “the commercial market recovery is broadening and demand is solid as operators look to bring capacity back online and plan for growth, with an eye on sustainability”.
The manufacturer booked 167 gross commercial airplane orders during the quarter, including 134 for the B737 Max.