The Boeing 777X will likely miss a debut planned for next year, says Emirates chief operating officer Adel Al Redha.
The Dubai-based carrier has outstanding orders for 115 of the model – making it the world’s biggest purchaser of the 777X.
Speaking to media on Wednesday, Al Redha explained that Boeing has struggled to meet production deadlines associated with the 777X over the course of the year, citing the pressure of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. “I don’t see that they will be able to deliver the aircraft in 2021,” said Al Redha.
“We will engage with Boeing to get more visibility. I think 2022 is a safe assumption to make.”
Initial deliveries of the 777X were originally set for this year, though the date was pushed back to 2021 following issues including delays to the plane’s General Electric turbines.
Al Redha also hinted that Emirates is in discussions with Boeing about continuing to convert 777X orders for the smaller 787 Dreamliner.
“We will be discussing with Boeing in that regard … what we can do with the 787,” said Al Redha. “We are in a fluid discussion and in the peak of re-examining all these kind of things. It does require re-examination, it does require re-thinking, it does require renegotiation.”
On its part, Boeing has since stated that it is “working closely with our customers across the business as they continue to adapt to the evolving COVID-19 situation”.
“We continue to execute our robust test program for the 777-9, which began flight testing in January … we remain pleased with the progress we are making and with the airplane,” Boeing said.