Emirates president Tim Clark has said the airline, the launch customer for the Boeing 777X, does not expect to take delivery of the jet until the first quarter of 2024, nearly four years later than planned.
“The 777x was due to come in June of last year. Now it’s unlikely to be, I think, before the first quarter of 2024,” Clark said at a virtual summit on Wednesday.
Emirates has long intended for the 777X, a larger version of Boeing’s 777 mini-jumbo, to eventually replace its iconic fleet of Airbus A380s – which the airline intends to keep in use until the 2030s.
“We were the driving force behind the (777-300)ER transformation into the 777X … we sat with Boeing a long time ago, defining what the aeroplane had to do, the crossover of the 787 technologies into the aeroplane, so we were very interested in that aeroplane,” Clark said.
“The problem of course, as we know, is there are issues with it in terms of certification and getting it out the door.”
Clark’s comments were made just days after Boeing delayed the jet’s entry into service to 2023 – three years later than originally announced – at a cost of $6.5 billion.
The delay was largely caused by additional certification efforts and safety inspections required in light of the 737 MAX.
The 777X will be the first Boeing plane to face Federal Aviation Administration scrutiny for certification since software and training issues on the MAX resulted in two fatal plane crashes that killed 346 people.
Both Boeing and the FAA have faced backlash in light of the MAX.
Meanwhile, Boeing also faces economic uncertainty as customers are unable to follow through on orders.
Last week, World of Aviation reported that Boeing has seen nearly 40 per cent of its 777X orders slip from its books, after applying new accounting rules that better assess a customer’s ability to finance their order.
The delay in the 777X program, combined with the COVID-19 pandemic, has also seen customers convert orders to readily-available and/or smaller aircraft.
Emirates has previously announced that it would convert between 30 and 40 of its 777X orders to smaller Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
January marked the third month in a row that Boeing delivered no 787 Dreamliners, as the company continues to conduct safety inspections in light of a number of manufacturing defects found on the jet.