world of aviation logo

‘Grown-up talks’: Emirates urges ‘visibility’ on 777X progress

written by Hannah Dowling | April 22, 2021

Emirates president Tim Clark has urged Boeing to provide more transparency on the current status of the delayed 777X program, as well as the results of recent flight tests, in light of ongoing internal issues with the planemaker.

Clark also suggested that the airline may look to revise its 777X orders dependent on said flight testing and revised delivery schedules.

“We would like more visibility on when we are going to receive this aeroplane and what exactly they are going to be able to do with regard to the performance on the contractual side, including propulsion,” Clark was reported saying at the World Aviation Festival online event.

The airline’s president stated that it would be holding conversations with Boeing over the current status of the 777X in the coming months, and hopes discussions with the US planemaker will be “grown up” talks.

According to Clark, Boeing has been forced to change elements of the 777X system and design, due to criticisms from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, which could also lead to further delays in delivery.

The 777X was initially planned to be delivered in 2020, however delivery has been delayed a number of times for a total of three additional years, largely due to additional quality control measures in light of the 737 MAX fiasco.


While Boeing intends to begin deliveries of the 777X in late 2023, Emirates previously stated it doesn’t expect to see its first delivery of the type until 2024.

The Dubai-based carrier is one of the launch customers for Boeing’s 777X, a larger version of its ‘mini-jumbo’ 777, and originally placed an order for 150 aircraft.

Since its initial order, the airline has converted a number of jets to other available types, bringing its current order down to 126.

Clark reiterated that extended delays or performance flaws on the 777X could see Emirates convert more orders.

“We haven’t [got] visibility on either delivery or on performance at this stage in the game. So we are kind of reserving our position on where we are on this aeroplane,” he said.

However, overall, Clark appeared confident in Boeing and its aircraft.

“Boeing build very good aeroplanes. They design very good aeroplanes, I don’t want to cast any doubt on that at all,” he said.

“It’s simply how they are built and under what conditions they are now going to be built, what new quality control regulatory requirements are coming in. That is slowing the whole process.”

It comes following a slew of production issues found in both the Boeing 737 MAX and the 787 Dreamliner.

In the last two weeks, engineers have located a number of electrical faults in 737 MAX aircraft that were delivered in the first weeks and months following the FAA’s recertification of the jet in November 2020 – roughly 20 per cent of all delivered MAX aircraft.

It’s unknown how many, if any, undelivered aircraft are also affected.

The electrical faults pertain to the grounding capabilities of some electrical circuits within the cockpit.

Boeing issued a notice to operators to inspect and ensure there is a “sufficient ground path” available on electrical circuits.

The planemaker stated that the required repairs for each aircraft could take merely a matter of hours, or up to a few days. Once completed, airlines can reinstate the aircraft for operation.

Meanwhile, Boeing has also seen a number of manufacturing flaws in its Dreamliners, which saw the planemaker unable to deliver any of the wide-bodied jets for more than four months.

Most recently, Boeing reported a manufacturing flaw in the cockpit windows of a certain batch of 787s, after it was made aware that a supplier had altered its internal production process.

One month earlier, the US Federal Aviation Administration issued an airworthiness directive demanding inspection of over 200 787 Dreamliners, after new defects were located.

The directive was issued following reports of torn decompression panels in the bilge area, according to the regulator.

The FAA estimated the directive will affect 222 Dreamliner aircraft in the US.

In December, Boeing announced it had found another flaw in the fuselage of its undelivered 787 Dreamliner jets.

The US planemaker said the same flaw reported in the jet’s fuselage in August 2020 had now been found in other areas of the aircraft.

Boeing has said the defect was found in some areas where fuselage segments were joined, with these joins potentially not being as smooth as required.

The engineering specifications at issue are roughly equivalent to the width of a human hair, the company noted.

Boeing also said the problem does not pose an imminent safety hazard.

Other faults found in the months since August 2020 pertained to the plane’s horizontal stabiliser, and its tail fin.


Each day, our subscribers are more informed with the right information.

SIGN UP to the Australian Aviation magazine for high-quality news and features for just $99.95 per year