Boeing has still scheduled the first flight of the 777-9 for 26 June, but GE is by all accounts struggling with some engine issues.
This is a permanent issue with engine manufacturers these days, as they are given less and less time to fully develop their power plants, pressed for in service dates that aren’t really viable by aircraft manufacturers who make promises to airlines they can’t really keep.
The GE9X is facing delays both in its own testing schedule and there have been issues mounting the test engines to the carbon fibre wings of the 777-X requiring modification.
The first two test aircraft are undergoing system integration testing which is where the engine mounting issue was discovered. The technical aspects of the GE engine testing, which Boeing admitted was behind schedule, haven’t been revealed, but at least two months were lost last year with compressor issues.
With Emirates due to receive its first 777-9 in June 2020 and Lufthansa not long before, that schedule seems inevitably likely to slip towards the end of 2020 if not early 2021.
Boeing will be very reluctant to admit to any delays, as that will affect its profit and cash forecast, which will also hit its share price, and that’s what Boeing executives receive their bonus on.