By: AirTravellerPH Staff
The newest generation of the Boeing 777 recently took its first flight. The rather impressive and sleek Boeing 777-9X took to the skies last January 26 at about 2:00am Manila time after numerous attempts. It was originally supposed to take its first flight last 2019 for delivery beginning 2021 but apparently, this was moved due to some issues. Alas, the next jumbo recently took-off, finally!
Many Filipino avgeeks are hoping that flag carrier Philippine Airlines will purchase the Boeing 777-9X, especially that the airline presently operates a fleet of 777-300ER which is actually the workhorse of the airline for transpacific flights particularly to the United States West Coast. The question now lies on if there is a possibility that PAL may put an order for the 777-9X.
Boeing had actually been pitching the 777-9X to PAL as the perfect 777-300ER replacement. The former can fit 414 passengers in a 3-class configuration, it flies farther than the latter with a range of 7,525 nmi versus the -300ER's 7,370 nmi. Also, two of PAL's 777s are now 10 years old.
The likelihood of PAL to purchase the 777-X is huge, but the question is when and what variant. Will it be the -9X or the rather shorter -8X?
Here are some clues as to why there is a huge likelihood:
While Boeing is still working to lure PAL into making an order for the 777-9X, it has been reported by Philippine Star that PAL is looking at acquiring two 777Xs as immediate replacements for the two ageing 777-300ERs. This report does not make sense as it will still take some time until the 777X would be delivered to PAL, even if they are to order the aircraft today. Both 777-300ER RP-C7777 and RP-C7776 are on lease, hence, having them longer would force PAL to extend their lease contract for more than 10 years which would make them to old and expensive to operate.
Exercising their option of 6 A350s would be the more sensible thing to do since the aircraft can be delivered sooner in time for PAL to let go of C7777 and C7776. Then later orders of the 777-9X could be made for the long term plans of the airline, especially if they want to increase capacity. Both a short and long term shot deal.
Nothing has been confirmed yet from PAL but lets see on the next coming months or years. For now, we are excited to see the 777-9X wearing PAL colors in the future.