The original Boeing 777 wide-body passenger jet airliner was introduced in 1995 (with United Airlines) and became a commercial success for the company with over 1,320 examples completed to date and operators spanning the globe. Building upon this established and successful framework, Boeing is set to introduce a follow-on design in the series as the advanced "777X" - marketed as the "most efficient twin-engine jet in the world" by Boeing. The model also utilizes lessons learned and qualities featured in the newer 787 "Dreamliner" series.
The 777X continues the fine lines established by the 777 and 787 with its slim, rounded fuselage, upward-canted wing mainplanes and single-finned tail. The cockpit sits a short distance away from the nose cone, offering excellent vision for the cockpit crew of two. Each wing fits an underslung engine nacelle of considerable diameter. The wings themselves utilized lightweight, but strong, composites in their construction offering a good balance of function and efficiency. Inspiration drawn from the Dreamliner is obvious in the twin-aisle passenger cabin with its large viewing windows positioned along the fuselage sides.
The engine of choice t power the new product is the General Electric Aviation "GE9X" turbofan developed exclusively with the 777X in mind - some of the largest propulsion systems ever fitted to a two-engined passenger jet airliner.
One of the more interesting design qualities of the 777X is in its wingtips which are designed to fold up when ground running. This provides the longer span assemblies with an inherent self-shortening feature giving the new aircraft the capability to operate in any existing major airport despite its added span when flying. Unfolded, the wings hold a span of 235.4 feet while, when folded, the span decreases to 212.7 feet to allow access to any standard passenger gate area.
Currently (2015), the 777X is set to be represented by two distinct model forms, the 777-8X (the standard offering) and the 777-9X (featuring a stretched fuselage with three-class passenger configuration). The former showcases an inherent range of 8,700 nautical miles with passenger seating from 350 to 375 persons and the latter sports a shorter range of 7,600 nautical miles though with seating for 400 to 425 passengers. Stated individual unit prices are $371 million and $400 million respectively.
Service introduction for the 777X is planned for 2020 as development is being undertaken as of this writing (2015). Confirmed orders of the 777-8X total 53 while the 777-9X has reached 243 examples for a total of 306 aircraft with operators in Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Qatar and the UAE. The 777-8X is in direct competition with the French Airbus A350-100 product (detailed elsewhere on this site). The 777-9X is said by Boeing representatives to have no true existing industry match as of yet.