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Boeing delays ultra-long-range 777X widebody jet

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SAN FRANCISCO/SINGAPORE: Boeing has pushed back the entry into service of an ultra-long-range version of its 777X widebody jetliner, as it grapples with the fallout from the 737 Max crisis and engine issues.

The fresh delay comes as the grounding of Boeing's money-spinning 737 Max single-aisle entered a sixth month in August, and as the world's largest planemaker faces engine-related delays on the 777X widebody that have pushed the first flight of the 777-9 variant into 2020.

The delay in the 777-8 variant will hamper Boeing's ability to provide a plane in line with the schedule for Qantas' planned 21-hour non-stop Sydney-London flights.

The Australian airline had hoped for first deliveries of the planes in 2022 and the launch of the world's longest commercial flight in 2023.

"We reviewed our development programme schedule and the needs of our current 777X customers and decided to adjust the schedule," Boeing spokesman Paul Bergman said by e-mail, adding that the manufacturer remained committed to the 777-8.

"The adjustment reduces risk in our development programme, ensuring a more seamless transition to the 777-8," he said.

"We continue to engage with our current and potential customers on how we can meet their fleet needs. This includes our valued customer Qantas." - REUTERS