Boeing has said it will delay the development of the ultra-long-range version of its upcoming aircraft 777X, the 777-8.
A statement from the company said the move is to reduce “risk in our development programme, ensuring a more seamless transition to the 777-8”.
The latest setback for Boeing comes amid the grounding of the 737 MAX single-aisle aircraft, which entered a sixth month in August, and as the world’s largest plane maker continues to struggle with engine-related delays on the 777X widebody that has pushed the first flight of the 777-9 into 2020.
Boeing has given no indication as to the length of the delay.
The 777-8, which will offer over 2,000 km more in range than the 777-9, was due to enter service in 2022, two years after the 777-9.
The new Boeing 777X will be the world’s largest and most efficient twin-engine jet, delivering 10 percent lower fuel use and emissions and 10 percent lower operating costs than the competition.
Emirates airline ordered 150 777X aircraft at the 2013 Dubai Airshow, almost 50 percent of the total orders around the world. The order was for 115 777-9Xs and 35 777-8Xs.
In July, however, Boeing said that an issue with the 777X’s General Electric GE9X engines led to delays in the aircraft’s first flight, although it said at the time that deliveries were still expected to progress as planned.