Seattle’s big star

The Boeing 777  – the best-selling widebody in history – features on the cover of the 22 April Flight International, 20 years on from its unveiling in April 1994. Stephen Trimble looks at the genesis and progress of a product that evolved from a failed bid to design an entirely different airframe but that the manufacturer had high hopes for, with then chief executive Phil Condit predicting that the 777 could be a “30, 40 or 50 year programme”.

Max Kingsley-Jones examines the prospects for the latest version of the twinjet – the 777X – as Boeing prepares for its entry into service in 2020, and looks at how Airbus can counter the threat. We have a graphic showing the changes on the 777-9X over its direct predecessor, the 777-300ER.

Elsewhere in the features section: are saltwater plants the answer to the industry’s fuel needs? And what are the environment challenges that have to be overcome for each of London’s new runway capacity contenders?

In news: Google raises the stakes in Silicon Valley UAV race and the extent of the defence cuts facing US contractors. Plus: USAF embarks on quest for future strategic airlifter, why Europe is still wary of Nepal’s aviation safety standards, and a report from China’s business aviation show, ABACE.

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