Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 21 September 2019

Boeing suspends load testing on 777X widebody

Planemaker is also under scrutiny for its 737 Max narrowbody following two fatal crashes

Several Boeing 777X aircraft in various stages of production at the Boeing production facility in Everett, Washington, US. Reuters
Several Boeing 777X aircraft in various stages of production at the Boeing production facility in Everett, Washington, US. Reuters

Boeing, the world's biggest planemaker, said it stopped testing of its new 777X widebody plane on Saturday after facing an issue during the ground stress test.

"During final load testing on the 777X static test airplane, the team encountered an issue that required suspension of the test," a Boeing spokeswoman said in an emailed statement on Sunday. "The event is under review and the team is working to understand the root cause."

The 777X, Boeing's newest plane, is undergoing final load testing and the high-stress test is the final in a series of tests that the jetmaker has been conducting in recent months.

"The testing conditions were well beyond any load expected in commercial service," Boeing said, without providing details of the issue its team encountered during testing.

Boeing had earlier said it would postpone the 777X’s first flight to 2020 and deliveries would be delayed amid problems with its General Electric-made engines.

The planemaker is under heavy scrutiny by global aviation regulators for its 737 Max narrowbody, which was grounded in March after two crashes killed 346 people. No official date is set for the plane’s return to service.

Emirates president Tim Clark, who oversees the world's biggest international carrier and launch customer of the 777X, issued a stern message to Boeing and its European rival Airbus last week, saying he is no longer prepared to take delivery of aircraft that don’t meet specifications, Bloomberg reported.

Mr Clark said it was impossible to know when the 777X will enter service after Boeing pushed back the first flight to 2020 and said deliveries may be delayed amid problems with its GE-made turbines, according to Bloomberg. Emirates has placed 150 orders for the plane.

Updated: September 8, 2019 07:22 PM

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