In 2017, SkyTrax, the dubious airline awards company honored Lufthansa with five star airline status. At the time, even in the mystical world of airline awards, people couldn’t help but ask why.
According to SkyTrax, the reasoning was simple. The airline would soon be launching a “revolutionary” new business class aboard the flagship Boeing 777X, and the new seat would propel Lufthansa from its former status right up to the top, sight unseen.
Only that was 2017, it’s now 2022, and according to the latest from Boeing the delivery of the Boeing 777X is being pushed back yet again.
The issue is the latest in a long series of delays and production flaws which have added significant strain to the longtime stalwart of aviation, and arguably the most successful aircraft producer in history.
More Boeing 777X Delays
It hasn’t been a great few years for Boeing. Horrific tragedies involving the Boeing 737-MAX prompted intense scrutiny into manufacturing and quality control processes at the aviation giant, revealing systemic woes.
Boeing 787 Dreamliner deliveries have been delayed as a result of manufacturing inconsistencies in various plants, the 737-MAX was temporarily grounded worldwide and the 777X has suffered a series of setbacks. Many of which, were prompted when a door blew off the aircraft during a pressure test observed by the FAA.
In 2020, GSTP asked whether the Boeing 777X would ever take off. Initial deliveries were intended for Emirates, Lufthansa and others in 2020, but a series of snags, in part due to the global pandemic and depleting airline funds delayed or deferred orders for most airlines.
The fact that the plane was due for delivery in 2020, then in 2021, then 2022, and even the most pessimistic analysts assumed 2023 at the worst, doesn’t make the new 2025 delivery date any better.
Boeing Looks To Delay 777X Certification
According to the Air Current, and backed up by statements from Emirates President Tim Clark, it appears Boeing won’t be certifying the Boeing 777X for flight until the end of 2024 at the earliest, and more likely until 2025.
Reuters reports that the FAA informed Boeing many of the certifications would need to be reconsidered or are “outdated” — and that new assessments will be required.
The self assessment “friendliness” between the FAA and Boeing caused outrage during hearings in Congress resulting from fatal 737-MAX crashes, which soured the cozy relationship and has created a thorny new certification process.
Will The Boeing 777X Be Safe?
By any possible measure, the answer should be a resounding yes. As the first plane to be certified following failures within the 737-MAX, the Boeing 777X, the largest twin engine plane in the world will have faced unprecedented scrutiny.
Whenever the FAA, EASA and others sign off on this plane, it will have jumped through more proverbial hoops than almost any aircraft in history. With interim technology advancements, it may be worth the wait.
Airlines Will Wait Some More
For customers with 777X orders still on the books, the latest 777X delays are an ongoing nightmare. Airlines banked on this plane to be the flagship of their long haul fleets, ordering seats and readying aircraft retirements accordingly.
Now, looking at 5 years of delays, customers including Emirates, Lufthansa, Singapore, British Airways and ANA, among others will likely see interior products intended for the 777X — debut on a variety of other aircraft.
It’ll be fascinating to see what happens to pricing agreements, as orders are delivered.
Of course, Airbus has its own woes, as legal battles continue between Qatar Airways and the French aerospace firm. As if the pandemic shrinking the airline industry wasn’t tough enough, both aircraft manufacturing giants are facing uphill battles.