Mission Accomplished: The 777x Takes to the Skies!, by Travel Radar Correspondent Ankur Deo

In a milestone achievement for Boeing, the 777x finally took to the skies on January 25, 2020 (Saturday). The aircraft was supposed to fly for the first time two days earlier on January 23, 2020 (Thursday). However, abysmal weather, and notably, windy conditions on two consecutive days forced Boeing to reschedule the flight on January 25, 2020 (Saturday). The aircraft, a Boeing 777-9 registered WH001, took off from Paine Field, Everett (WA, USA), and landed at Boeing Field near downtown Seattle at 2:00 pm local time after flying for about four hours.

The aircraft was greeted yesterday by a light 8 knot tailwind, visibility of six miles, and broken clouds at 3,000 feet as it propelled down runway 34L at 9:08 a.m. local time (WA, USA). After a takeoff roll of just 30 seconds, the behemoth rotated – the moment that everyone was waiting for so long, and the mammoth 777-9 had finally taken to the skies!

The aircraft climbed to 14,000 feet and turned back east where it entered looping patterns over central Washington state, beginning the first of many test flights on the long road to certification and eventually passenger service over the next 18 months.

A multitude of such tests will be held throughout the year before Emirates receives the first 777-9 next year. The 252-foot-long passenger jet had been due to launch this year but has been delayed by technical difficulties. Boeing has sold 309 of these aircrafts – worth more than $442 million each at list prices. The plane will go head-to-head with the Airbus A350-1000, seating about 360 passengers. With so much potential down the line, having a successful first flight was indeed of utmost importance for Boeing.

These moments are rare for any aircraft manufacturer; it is not everyday that a much awaited new aircraft takes to the skies! After all that Boeing has been through in the last year or so, the flight of 777-9 indeed serves as a ray of hope. The same was reflected in the stock market as well, as Boeing’s stock rocketed to $323, as the achievement provides Boeing with a lift ahead of its quarterly earnings report on January 29, 2020, which otherwise would had been dominated by a multibillion-dollar loss because of charges tied to the 737MAX debacle.

As more test flights are anticipated down the year, we will follow the proceedings closely! What do you think of Boeing’s achievement? Let us know in the comments!

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