Boeing Cuts Firm 777X Orders By A Third

Boeing has reduced its number of firm 777X orders by 118, according to reports. The figure would leave the American aerospace giant with just 191 firm orders for its next-generation widebody. It comes as the 777X program continues to face mounting delays, with the first delivery now pushed to 2023.

Boeing, 777X, Firm Orders
Boeing has reportedly cut its firm 777X orders by a third. Photo: Boeing

The Boeing 777X has been touted as the next generation of the widebody, with innovative technologies such as folding wingtips. However, thus far, the project has been bogged down by delays, meaning the first delivery didn’t happen as planned last year. Tied with a global pandemic, it seems that interest in the type is beginning to wain.

118 fewer firm orders

According to a report by Reuters, Boeing yesterday revealed that of the 350 777X orders currently listed in its order book as of December 31st, a third could no longer be considered firm orders for the next-gen widebody.

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According to the publication, in a regulatory filing, Boeing commented,

“Delays on the 737 MAX and 777X programs have resulted in, and may continue to result in, customers having the right to terminate orders and or substitute orders for other Boeing aircraft.”

Boeing, 777X, Firm Orders
According to Boeing’s order book at the end of 2020, the airline had 350 777X orders. Photo: Boeing

How will this affect the program?

For the time being, it seems that Boeing remains invested in the 777X program. Days ago, the manufacturer committed to a new first delivery date of the 777X in 2023. What should be noted is that the 118 orders that are no longer firm aren’t necessarily canceled. Instead, carriers are likely giving themselves flexibility regarding whether they do indeed take up the aircraft they’ve ordered.

While the delay in first deliveries won’t be the best news for those keen to begin flying the 777X, it could prove to be a boon for other carriers. Currently, airlines are dealing with their worst crisis since records began.

Take 777-9 launch carrier Lufthansa for example. This time last year, the airline was operating an average of 1430 flights a day, according to data from RadarBox.com. This year that figure stands at 268 flights per day. For comparison, in its worst week of April 2020, the German flag carrier only operated 98 flights per day.

Boeing, 777X, Firm Orders
The manufacturer recently delayed delivery of its first 777X until 2023. Photo: Boeing

As a result of the current crisis, Lufthansa has taken steps to restructure its fleet for the anticipated lengthy recovery. This has seen many widebodies sent to storage or even retired early. The airline has also slowed its new aircraft delivery schedule. By delaying the 777Xs entry into service, Lufthansa is under less pressure to take new aircraft that it may not need straight away, depending on how long the industry’s recovery takes.

On the delays to the Boeing 777X program, a Lufthansa spokesperson told Simple Flying,

“With 44 orders, Lufthansa belongs to the exclusive group of launch customers for the Boeing 777-9. Delivery of the first 777-9 to Lufthansa is planned for the end of 2023. A project team with experts from various specialist and central departments is already working closely with the manufacturer on the introduction.”

What do you make of the latest news on the 777X program from Boeing? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!


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