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Emirates wants ‘grown-up’ talk with Boeing over 777X delays

written by Isabella Richards | October 6, 2021
A file image of a Boeing 777-200LRF. (Wikimedia Commons/Maarten Visser)
A Boeing 777-200LRF. (Wikimedia Commons/Maarten Visser)

Emirates has complained again over Boeing’s continuous 777X delays, urging for a “grown-up conversation” with the planemaker to expedite the long-awaited deliveries.

The airline currently has 126 of the jets on order, but Boeing is two-and-a-half years behind its original schedule for the aircraft to arrive in June 2020.

Tim Clark, the president of the gulf carrier, told reporters: “We work to precision. I struggle with others who can’t get that,” before he was set to meet with Boeing leaders at an industry summit.

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Emirates is one of the world’s biggest long-haul airlines, with a fleet of around 140 Boeing 777-300s and 115 Airbus A380s.

Clark added Emirates did not know when the first 777-9 wide-body or its smaller 777-8 would arrive, warning it will cause further disruption on the state-owned carrier’s recovery as it is slated to replace its current 777s.

The 777X wide-body, twin-engine jet has been in the works for years, first announced in 2013 at the Dubai Airshow.

The aircraft was supposed to enter service mid-last year – seeing its maiden flight occur in January 2020 – but it is still yet to make a commercial debut with Emirates as its launch customer.

The planemaker has received continuous scrutiny over the aircraft not only from customers, but also from regulators.

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In early June, the Federal Aviation Administration told Boeing its 777X would likely not receive its certification until late 2023 due to the lack of data and a preliminary safety assessment.

Various concerns were compiled in a letter, including flight control issues and an unusual ‘uncommanded pitch event’, where the nose of the jet swayed up or down without pilot control.

In May, Clark warned Boeing that Emirates would refuse delivery of the jets if they fell short of contractual performance commitments.

He said he had not received any performance details of the jet’s engines at the time even though test flights began in 2020.

In the same month, the airline alluded it would potentially swap some of the delayed jets to the US planemaker’s 787 Dreamliners.

Despite separate issues the Dreamliners have faced in recent months, Clark said on Tuesday swapping more 777X aircraft would depend on Boeing.

While this remains a large issue for the carrier, Emirates is on a path to recovery, according to Clark.

Although the carrier is yet to release its most recent financial report, Clark said it has “reduced the loss over this time last year by a significant percentage”.

For the financial year that ended on 31 March 2021, the Emirates Group reported a loss of US$6 billion, compared to a US$456 million profit the year before.

“With opening of borders, we’ve seen a major kick-in of income, of demand, so in the second half of the financial year, we’re looking to see a much greater improvement as to the first half,” he added.

In September, the International Air Transport Association announced Emirates was the largest international carrier in the year of 2020.

The Dubai-based airline said it carried over 15.8 million passengers in the 12-month period, despite major losses.

 

 

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