777-9 ‘first flight in January’ as GE fixes engine problems

GE have announced significant progress in certification of the GE9X engine for the 777-9. The engine is undergoing the FAA Block 33 test at present which is considered the most gruelling of all, and it should be completed this week.

Having had to redesign and develop a number of systems following a titanium compressor fan blade failure, including making them instead in Inconel (a super alloy made from nickel-chrome), GE says it’s now ready to move on with ground testing.

As a result it’s possible that first flights will be viable in mid to late January.

This would be good news for Boeing but won’t really change first delivery dates for Emirates and Lufthansa- they still won’t get aircraft until early 2021.