FAA to Fast Track Boeing 777X Certification
Agency to Treat New Design as Version Upgrade
The Federal Aviation Administration said it will allow Boeing to have the 777X wide-body aircraft certified as a new version of the current 777 instead of as a brand-new airplane.
The move greatly simplifies the approval process for Boeing, which will be using new carbon-fiber composite wings similar to those on the 787 Dreamliner on the plane. The fuselage will be stretched to allow the aircraft to seat between 350 and 400 passengers, versus the current maximum of 380 on the larger 777 model. Other changes include a new flight deck and new General Electric engines. The new 777X is expected to be 20% more fuel efficient than the current model.
Similar to what is available today in the Dreamliner, the 777X will offer passengers higher air pressure, which simulates a lower altitude, and higher relative humidity levels, both of which are expected to reduce discomfort associated with jet lag.
Boeing will need to have each change approved to get the aircraft recertified since it has to meet today’s standards, even with the streamlined process.
The Boeing 777 first entered service in 1995 with United Airlines as the launch customer. With a total of 1,548 orders, the plane is the most popular twin-engine wide-body ever built.