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​GE9X engine issue pushes 777X first flight to 2020

An issue with the General Electric GE9X powerplants that will power the Boeing 777X has delayed that aircraft's first flight until 2020, the airframer has disclosed.

Boeing had previously said first flight of its newest widebody would occur in 2019, with certification and deliveries to follow in 2020.

Though the airframer now says first flight will occur in 2020, it is sticking to its goal to complete certification and begin deliveries next year – while warning the timeline could slip.

"The 777X programme is progressing well through pre-flight testing. While the company is still targeting late 2020 for first delivery of the 777X, there is significant risk to this schedule given engine challenges, which are delaying first flight until early 2020," Boeing says.

The company made the disclosure in a statement on its second-quarter financial results.

At the Paris air show in June, GE Aviation said a redesign of a stator in the GE9X's high-pressure compressor would likely push engine certification into autumn, spurring uncertainty about Boeing's ability to meet its 2019 first-flight goal.

Despite that news, Boeing executives at Paris stuck to the 2019 first-flight timeline.

"We still expect to have the airplane flight test this year, with an entry into service next year," said Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief executive Kevin McAllister.

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