While the maiden flights of the Boeing (BA) 787-10 and Boeing 737 MAX captured headlines, in the background Boeing has been detailing the Boeing 777-9. In its latest document, the jet maker detailed the interior arrangement for the Boeing 777-9.
These new details give somewhat of an idea on how the -9 compares to the Boeing 777-300ER and where in the payload-range diagram the aircraft can be placed.
In this article, I will have a look at the interior arrangement, dimensions and timeline
The Boeing 777X is an aircraft that has long been anticipated. Airlines have been waiting for the aircraft for a long time, while Boeing had been holding off a launch in order not to disturb the sales success of the Boeing 777-300ER. Another reason for Boeing to hold off an official launch was that the company timeline was already filled with the service entries of the Boeing 787-10, the Boeing 737 MAX family and efficiency improvements on the Boeing 787 production.
Since Boeing 777X requirements have been driven by customer needs and especially customer needs from the Middle Eastern carriers, a lot was already known about the aircraft before it was officially launched. One of the missing elements, however, was the typical seating arrangement for which Boeing only provided a range of 400-425 seats.
In its latest document the jet maker has detailed the interior arrangements. In typical 2-class configuration the aircraft will be able to carry up to 414 passengers, while in 3-class configuration the aircraft will carry 349 passengers. In comparison, the Boeing 777-300ER carries 396 passengers and 370 passengers in 2- and 3-class configuration.
Figure 2: Typical seating Boeing 777-9 (Source: Boeing)
What is important to note here is the intended product segmentation for the Boeing 777-9. Whereas the Boeing 777-300ER characteristics manual still features more seats in the 3-class configuration, the Boeing 777-9 features less seats. This has everything to do with the industry trend that has favored the business class product over the first-class product.
Figure 2: Typical seating row Boeing 777-300ER (Source: Boeing)
The Boeing 777-9 also features a somewhat unsatisfying trend and that is the trend of narrower seats. Just like the Boeing 777-300ER, 10-seats abreast seems to be the standard. Figure 2 shows that the addition of an extra seat leads to seats as narrow as 17 inches, which is an inch smaller than what competitor Airbus (OTCPK:EADSF) offers.
Figure 3: Typical seating row Boeing 777-9 (Source: Boeing)
Figure 3 shows that Boeing has increased the distance from the first seat to the 10th seat in each row to 234 inches, 4 inches more than on the Boeing 777-300ER, which would mean that each seat could be made .4 inches wider. Boeing, however, did not add all 4 inches to the seat widths. Each aisle is made 1 inch wider, while the seat width increased slightly to 17.2 inches. Adding some inches to the aisle is not that weird, since it creates the sensation of having more space for the people seated along the aisle.
Beneficial to passenger comfort or the sense of increased passenger comfort should be the sculpting of the cabin, which increased the cabin width of the Boeing 777-9 by almost 5 inches.
Figure 4: Aircraft dimensions Boeing 777-9 (Source: Boeing)
The Boeing 777-9 design on one hand adds more efficiency by adding more seats on the aircraft for which a small extension of the fuselage is required and slightly bigger wings.
The entire aircraft will be 76.7 meters long versus 73.9 meters for the Boeing 777-300ER. Whereas the entire aircraft will be 2.8 meters longer, with 75.2 meters the Boeing 777-9 fuselage will only be 2.1 meters longer. The additional 0.7 meters comes from the wider horizontal stabilizers, which end behind the fuselage.
To carry the additional passengers over a slightly greater range, the wing design has been brought up to par with that of new generation aircraft and the wing span has been increased. To make sure the Boeing 777-9 can still fit in the gates and taxi ways of Code E aircraft such as the Boeing 777-300ER, the wing makes use of 3.5m wing tips that can be unfolded prior to take off.
To date the Boeing 777X has received 306 orders, 253 of which are for the biggest model. The order book is dominated by the biggest carriers in the Gulf region, which have also been dictating the requirements of the Boeing 777X family.
Manufacturing of components for pre-production started in late 2016 with final assembly in 2018 and service entry in 2020, although a service entry in late 2019 is anticipated by many.
In the characteristics manual for airport planning for the Boeing 777-9 no big deviations from what was expected could be discovered. Boeing has detailed the typical seating of the -9 in two-class configuration to be 414 seats, whereas it first provided a seat range of 400-425. The typical configuration per Boeing’s manual lies almost in the midpoint of the seat range.
The Boeing 777-9 also goes with the flow of having 10 seats abreast, where the cabin and aisles are slightly wider to create spaciousness and the seats are made a bit wider, but only marginally. The Boeing 777-9 is not an aircraft that, going by the numbers, is going to add a lot more to passenger comfort but merely follows an industry wide trend where its design has been driven by customers primarily from the Middle East.
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Disclosure: I am/we are long BA,.
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