With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic continuing to hamper passenger demand levels, Emirates is primarily flying its Boeing 777s at the moment. These twinjets presently represent a more capacity-efficient solution than its colossal Airbus A380s. The vast majority of its 777s belong to the -300ER variant, but did you know that the airline also used to operate the non-ER version of the -300? Let’s find out what happened to these planes.
The end of an era
As reported by Simple Flying at the time, 2019 marked the final non-ER Boeing 777-300 retirement at Dubai-based UAE flag carrier Emirates. This brought the curtain down on two decades of operational history with the type, which had begun back in 1999.
Emirates marks significant fleet renewal milestones; completes US$ 150 million reconfiguration of all 10 @BoeingAirplanes 777-200LRs & retires last two Boeing 777-300 Classic aircraft. https://t.co/acHrhMdPL3 #FlyEmiratesFlyBetter pic.twitter.com/H7NWNOc3jj
— Emirates Airline (@emirates) April 15, 2019
The retirements were part of a fleet modernization program at Emirates. Young aircraft are a key part of its ethos, and data from ch-aviation.com shows that its present planes have an average age of just 7.9 years old. The carrier stated at the time that:
“In line with its ambitious fleet renewal program, Emirates is in the process of retiring the last two Boeing 777-300 classic aircraft in its fleet. A6-EMV, delivered in February 2003, has now been phased out of the Emirates fleet and A6-EMX, delivered in June 2003 will shortly also be removed from commercial service. (…) A younger fleet allows for better fuel efficiency and other related environmental benefits.”
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When did they arrive?
Emirates operated a total of 12 non-ER Boeing 777-300s over the years, with data from ch-aviation showing that the first pair arrived towards the end of 1999. Specifically, A6-EMM came onboard in November that year, followed by A6-EMN the next month.
Moving into the 21st century, 777-300 deliveries dropped to just one a year in 2000 (A6-EMO) and 2001 (A6-EMP). However, 2002 represented a contrastingly busy year for Emirates in this domain. Indeed, this was its busiest year in terms of 777-300 deliveries. A total of five came onboard in a five-month spell spanning from April to September 2002.
The final three 777-300s to join the Emirates fleet all did so in 2003. The first was A6-EMV in February that year, followed by A6-EMW a month later. After a three-month gap, A6-EMX completed the set when it was delivered to the Dubai-based UAE flag carrier in June 2003. All 12 were delivered brand-new, and had Rolls-Royce Trent 892 engines.
Where did they end up?
Emirates flew almost all of its 777-300s for 15 to 18 years. The only exception to this trend was A6-EMW, which had to be written off after just 13 years of service at the airline. The reason for this was the fact that the aircraft was damaged beyond repair during a landing fire in Dubai in 2016. Thankfully, all of its occupants were able to evacuate the plane.
Four of the remaining 11 aircraft joined Hong Kong’s flag carrier Cathay Pacific directly after leaving Emirates, with a fifth doing so via lessor AerCap. Meanwhile, AerCap was unable to find a new operator for another of the aircraft, A6-EMO, and it was broken up in Goodyear, Arizona in August 2017. Other operators of the ex-Emirates 777-300s have included Air Peace (Nigeria), Alexandria Airlines (Egypt), flyGlobal (Malaysia), and VIM Airlines (Russia).
Did you ever fly on one of Emirates’ non-ER Boeing 777-300s? Perhaps you’ve been on one of the examples that have since moved to other carriers? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.