After twice being delayed by poor weather, Boeing completed the successful first flight of the 777-9 on Saturday. The aircraft, which was launched at the Dubai Air Show in 2013 was scheduled to enter service last year, but has been delayed – the latest delay due to an issue with the GE9X engines from General Electric.
This is a positive development and a morale boost for Boeing, which has been battered by a seeming unending drama of bad news regarding the 737 MAX. Nonetheless, the 777X will be an important test for Boeing’s strained relationship with the FAA, which has stripped the company of its organizational authority temporarily.
After the 737 MAX debacle, the 777X will likely be the testbed for new certification processes and procedures that will likely include additional FAA oversight. The key question to be answered is whether this will have any schedule impact on delivery of the 777-9 to its launch customers.
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