Boeing has revealed that it expects the debut of the 777X, a larger version of the popular widebody 777, be delayed until late 2023, pushing the jetliner’s entry into service three years behind schedule.
The announcement came in the company’s earnings statement, in which the aerospace giant said it posted a record annual loss of $11.94 billion in 2020, including a $6.5 billion pre-tax charge on the 777X program.
Adding to the losses was a $744 million charge linked to Boeing’s $2.5 billion settlement with the US Department of Justice in connection with the design of the 737 Max aircraft.
Boeing put the 777X delay down to three factors: An updated assessment of global certification requirements, the impact of COVID-19 on aviation market demand and customers who are renegotiating aircraft delivery schedule.
In the aftermath of the 737 Max’s nearly two-year grounding, aviation regulators are imposing tougher certification requirements across the industry, and Boeing’s design and production are receiving especially close scrutiny.
One bright spot for Boeing has been an uptick in deliveries for the workhorse 737 Max, which has been cleared by authorities in the US, Brazil, Canada and most recently in Europe.
The company had developed the 777X for the lucrative international market, and despite the delays, had conducted the first successful test flights in January 2020.
However, the jetliner has been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus crisis, which has brought on widespread global travel restrictions, forcing airline customers to postpone deliveries on large twin-aisle jetliners.