EVERETT, Wash. - Boeing abandoned the usual pomp-and-circumstance during a scaled-back rollout Thursday of its newest commercial passenger plane.
The aerospace giant originally had expected to unveil the Boeing 777X on Wednesday - with all the glitz, fanfare and media hype that typically accompanies the rollout of a new jetliner.
Then came the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which killed everyone aboard and sparked a worldwide grounding of Boeing 737 MAX planes
Out of respect for the crash victims and their families, Boeing dropped the usual pageantry for the 777X - and turned the event into a muted, employee-only affair inside the assembly plant in Everett.
At 252 feet long, the company says the new aircraft has eclipsed even the 747-800 to become the largest twin-engine passenger jetliner in the world. Depending on the model, the plane will seat anywhere from 350 and 425 passengers. Its range is 9,000 to 10,000 miles.
The 777X design will allow slightly larger seats, and the new plane's overhead bins are also larger, so that passengers can better store more carry-on luggage. The windows also will be larger than on current 777s.
Boeing also has invested more than $1 billion in a new factory in Everett to build the 777X's advanced, carbon fiber composite wing. The new wings are so long - with a total span of 235 feet - that the outer 12 feet of each wing is designed to fold in when the plane is on the ground so that it will fit at existing airport gates that handle older 777s.
Test flights of the 777X are scheduled to begin later this year.