Boeing’s new 777X has flown over a key hurdle to carrying passengers now that the Federal Aviation Administration has certified the enormous jet engine developed to power the wide-body airliner. General Electric announced on Monday that the FAA had officially blessed the GE9x, the largest commercial jet engine ever built.
“There is no substitute that can achieve the combination of size, power and fuel efficiency of the GE9X,” GE Aviation CEO John Slattery said in a statement. “This engine will deliver unsurpassed value and reliability to our airline customers.”
Boeing didn’t release its own statement on the news, but in a tweet reply to GE on Monday it said, “Great work and congratulations to your team!”
The stats on the 90x are impressive. Composed of 16 blades, its fan has a diameter of 134 inches — almost as wide as afuselage — and delivers 110,000 pounds of thrust at takeoff, or about twice the power of two engines on an early .
GE also says the GE9x will be the quietest GE engine ever produced while delivering 10% lower fuel consumption. Parts of the engines are made from composite materials including some turbine blades, which are 3D printed by Italian company Avio Aero.
But the GE9x also dogged development for the 777x, the first commercial aircraft with fold-up wingtips. At the 2019 Paris Air Show, Boeing said excessive wear inside the engine forced the company to postpone the 777x’s first flight.
The airliner, which can carry between 384 to 436 passengers depending on the configuration, finally flew for the first time in January. Though originally targeted to start carrying passengers next year, entry into service is now scheduled for 2022.