The Dubai Air Show, next month, is expected to see the formal announcement of the 777X, but orders are already being potentially made, particularly by Middle Eastern airlines including Etihad. Qatar Airways and Emirates have also indicated interest in the new plane. The order from Etihad could be in the $18bn range, and include 30 to 40 777Xs and 25 to 30 787s. Other airlines are expected to place orders at the air show, including Saudia and Kuwait Airlines; current thinking is that Emirates and Qatar are interested but not yet prepared to buy.
The 777X will have advanced engines and instrumentation, as well as improved aerodynamics, to upgrade the efficiency and reliability of what is already one of the most efficient planes in the world. It will also be a stretch of the existing 777, intended to carry more than 400 passengers, which makes the 777X a potential replacement for the ageing 747s currently in service in many airlines. The 777X will be somewhat larger than Airbus’s new A350-1000 XWB.