Emirates CEO Tim Clark has been talking a lot about the future of the Boeing 777X program. He repeatedly questioned Boeing’s timeline for the American manufacturer’s new aircraft and said he has “no visibility” of the first delivery. However, when the planes do arrive, Sir Tim demands that they be performing at 100% of what has been agreed. Let’s find out more.
According to Arabian Business, Sir Tim Clark has reiterated his doubts over the future of the beleaguered 777X program. However, this time, he added an interesting detail about his expectations from the new widebody, saying,
“There are issues on that aeroplane, and I’m not entirely clear as to when we’re going to get them….What I’ve said to Boeing is we will not accept an aeroplane unless it is performing 100 percent to contract, for the same reason they expect us to pay 100 percent to contract at delivery.”
This is the first time the Emirates President has talked about potential issues plaguing Boeing’s newest widebody fleet. According to Reuters, the issues have to do with contractual performance requirements from the 777X. Sir Tim also added that Emirates has not received any performance details from the new GE9X engines despite several test flights having been undertaken.
If the 777X is unable to guarantee crucial benchmarks for Emirates, the carrier could well decline delivery. This would be a crushing blow to Boeing’s newest widebody program, which has already been struggling.
In addition to possible issues on the aircraft, he reiterated that there remains little clarity on when the first 777X will reach airlines. Despite Boeing’s timeline of end-2023, Sir Tim Clark has said the real timescale might be well into 2024 or possibly even 2025.
For Boeing, Emirates’ doubts pose a significant challenge. The Dubai-based giant is the largest operator of the Boeing 777 family globally as well as the biggest customer for the 777X. This means any complaints from the airline will certainly show up on Boeing’s radar fairly quickly for a speedy resolution.
Currently, Emirates has placed an order for 115 777Xs, with most planes being for the largest 777-9 variant. However, there has been talk about switching away from the larger jets to the 787 instead, given the current delays and changing market.
This wouldn’t be the first time Emirates has made a swap on its record-value aircraft order. The original order for 150 777Xs has already been shrunk to just 115 due to swaps and reductions since 2019. More reductions could slow the 777X program further, impacting Boeing deeply.
Only time will tell
For now, Emirates remains focused on its recovery from the pandemic and increasing passenger levels. The future of the 777X program will become clearer in the coming months as Boeing pursues certification for the 777-9. Hopefully, the next two years will hopefully see airlines make enough of a recovery to take on the new jets.
What do you think about Sir Tim Clark’s comments about the Boeing 777X? Let us know in the comments!