FINN editor-in-chief Alan Peaford talks to Boeing Director of Environmental Strategy, Sean Newsum about the new 777X and building a more sustainable future following a torrid 2019

Boeing’s Director of Environmental Strategy has spoken about the feeling of “relief and excitement” within the company as the new 777X made its first flight.

The new aircraft’s first flights, which mark the start of the testing programme, follow a torrid 2019 and $18.6bn write off from the Boeing 737 MAX crisis.

Sean Newsum said the new aircraft was part of an ongoing strategy within the company to produce aircraft with greater fuel efficiency and to operate more flights using sustainable fuels.

Next generation widebody plane

Newsum described the 777X as: “the next generation of widebody airplane.” He said: “It will be the most fuel efficient airplane in its class when it enters service. It’s got an all new engine and all new carbon fibre composite wings, the largest in the world with folding wing tips, its going to enable a new magnitude of fuel efficiency it will be 33 per cent more fuel efficient than an 737-400.”

“The magic of the folding wing tips is that it allows an airplane with an optimum designed wing to fit into the gates of 777-200ER, which enables even more efficiency than we would have got otherwise.”

230,000 flights made using sustainable fuel

Sustainable fuels were another avenue for the manufacturer. Newsum said the process for creating an “all new industry and all new fuel supply sector for aviation” would be a long one. He also called for more government incentives, such as those used in California, to help manufacturers and airlines make the switch to sustainable fuel. He said taxes had always been a feature within aviation but called for them to be channelled into research and development for alternative energy sources.

Newsum said: “We’re starting from ground zero on this, we’ve made tremendous progress in 15 years to go from just the mere idea of sustainable fuels in aviation to them being used today on an everyday basis out of LAX – over 230,000 flights so far.”

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