The Boeing 777X is one of the most anticipated aircraft. Most are awaiting certification and also delivery. Expected to enter service in 2025, the aircraft will no doubt turn heads.
Coming with two passenger variants and now also a dedicated freighter, it’s a worthy upgrade on the existing 777 series and what Boeing hopes will drive sales for high-capacity long-haul aircraft. However, it has undoubtedly struggled in the past decade to attract customer interest.
Many factors can be attributed to this. Notably, the age of most 777s flying with customers and the need for a replacement not being present at this early stage, the reality the 777X is yet flying with customers, the global pandemic and the changes we’ve seen in the industry.
However, the 777-8 has recently attracted a lot of attention, with adjustments being made to the jet’s specifications to align it with the 777-8F better.
The staggering details highlight that the 777-8 only has eight aircraft on order. Gross orders for the 777-8 are at 43. Meanwhile, net orders are at only eight, the figure being studied for the variant. This is compared to the 300 net orders for the 777-9 and the 55 for the 777-8F.
Unfilled orders for the 777-8 also tally eight units. This adds question marks around Emirates’ commitments to the 777X series and specifically this variant, with Etihad Airways primarily being listed as the airline with eight of the aircraft on order officially as part of a substantial deal placed now a decade ago.
What does this mean for the 777-8? Well, it’s indeed experiencing a similar syndrome in other aircraft programs where the aircraft with less favourable capabilities struggle to sell.
Airbus has experienced this with their slow-selling A330neo, the -900 bringing up the bulk of the orders and the -800 lagging and attracting very few commitments.
However, Boeing will still need to find ways to turn this plane into an aircraft that customers are interested in. With it still realistically half a decade away from an introduction based on timelines, there’s time still, but Boeing will want to work on the low number.