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Lufthansa CEO Expects Delays of Boeing’s New 777X by One More Year

VANCOUVER- Lufthansa Airlines (LH) is bracing for further delays in delivering its initial Boeing 777-9 aircraft, with CEO Jens Ritter indicating that the first one is not expected until 2026, later than Boeing’s current schedule.

During a Lufthansa event, Ritter informed reporters on May 2 that they no longer anticipate receiving the first aircraft in 2025. He mentioned, “We anticipate its arrival for the summer timetable in 2026 at the earliest.”

Lufthansa Airlines (LH) is bracing for further delays in delivering its initial Boeing 777-9 aircraft, with CEO Jens Ritter indicating that the first one is not expected until 2026
Photo: Lufthansa

Lufthansa Boeing 777X Delays

Lufthansa, which has 27 Boeing 777-9s on firm order, is among the launch customers of the 777X family that are preparing for the already postponed initial deliveries to occur in 2025.

Boeing still maintains its expectation for the initial 777-9 deliveries to occur in 2025, followed by the 777-8F in 2027, with the precise timing subject to the discretion of the FAA, reported Aviation Week.

Boeing consistently communicates to Lufthansa that the airline’s inaugural 777-9 is slated to arrive next summer, as confirmed by Ritter. Even in early March, Lufthansa Group CEO Carsten Spohr expressed his anticipation for 777-9 deliveries commencing in 2025.

However, ongoing challenges in obtaining type inspection authorization (TIA), which marks the final critical phase in the FAA’s certification process, cast doubt on Boeing’s ability to adhere to its current timeline.

Ritter noted that his understanding of Boeing’s present strategy is contingent upon securing TIA approval for the 777-9, which would initiate the official certification flight test campaign, anticipated to occur by March or April at the latest.

Lufthansa Airlines Boeing 777-9
Photo: Boeing

Awaiting Type Certification Authorization

Boeing initially submitted its application for type inspection authorization (TIA) in 2021. However, the FAA rejected the application due to inadequate technical data, deeming the aircraft unprepared.

Subsequent discussions with the FAA and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) resolved concerns regarding flight control redundancy. Additionally, adjustments were made to address a 2022 FAA mandate requiring a reassessment of assumptions concerning the aircraft’s common core computing and networking infrastructure.

During the earnings call on April 26, West indicated that Boeing would adhere to the guidance provided by the FAA throughout the certification process, including efforts to secure FAA approval to commence certification flight testing.

Ritter mentioned that Lufthansa intends to dispatch a sizable team to Boeing during the week of May 9 to engage in discussions and seek further clarity regarding the situation.

Emirates after Toronto will start New Dubai to Montreal flights
Photo: Emirates

Emirates Expects Delays

Ritter’s evaluation of the progress of the 777-9 aligns with that of Emirates Airline President Tim Clark, who indicated earlier in 2024 that deliveries to Emirates, another principal customer, might also be delayed until 2026, a six-year shift from the original schedule. Emirates holds firm orders for 205 777Xs, making it the largest customer for this aircraft type.

Despite uncertainties surrounding the timing of type inspection authorization (TIA), there are indications of advancement in the certification program.

Flight-tracking data reveals that WH001, the 777-9 prototype, has regularly conducted flights between Boeing Field in Seattle and the company’s flight test facility in Moses Lake. On April 26, it flew to Victorville, California, returning to Seattle the next day.

However, there has been limited recent activity for other aircraft in the test fleet. WH002, the second 777-9, which was previously engaged in various tests, has not been airborne since April 1.

Similarly, WH003, the third test aircraft crucial for the certification process, has not flown since the end of January. Despite receiving updated GE Aerospace GE9X engines late last year, WH003 has remained inactive. Additionally, WH004, the fourth aircraft, has not been operational for over two years.

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The post Lufthansa CEO Expects Delays of Boeing’s New 777X by One More Year appeared first on Aviation A2Z.

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