Although the aircraft is still around two years away from entering service, Boeing has racked up 320 orders for the new 777X. According to Boeing’s order book, the largest number order is the 115 aircraft ordered by Emirates. We’ve taken a closer look at the current and possible future 777X orders.
The newest variant of the best-selling 777 widebody family, the 777X, is already proving popular with airlines worldwide. According to Boeing’s list of unfulfilled orders, 320 aircraft have been ordered already. The next-generation aircraft includes the 777-8 and 777-9 variants.
At the end of last year, the manufacturer already had 309 firm orders, but this has jumped to 320 in the last few months. However, this doesn’t mean any new orders have come in. Previously, Singapore Airlines was only going to take 20 new 777X, but the airline increased this to 31 in February by switching from 14 787-10 Dreamliners to an additional 11 777X.
In addition to the 115 which will join Emirates’ fleet, 60 will head to Qatar Airways, and 25 will go to Etihad. A further 20 each will join ANA and Lufthansa, with 21 going to Cathay Pacific. Boeing will deliver 18 777X to British Airways, and the remaining ten are for an unidentified customer or customers.
Are problems at an end?
The 777X has been faced with problems and delays for several years now. First, development took longer than expected. Then, the global pandemic has meant deliveries have been deferred, and global demand is low. The program’s delays have meant airlines interested in the 777X have switched or placed orders for Dreamliners to meet growing demands.
However, the delays may now be a good thing. According to the previous schedule, the first 777Xs would have headed straight for storage during the travel restrictions of last year. Now, when the first aircraft is finally rolled off the production line, it should enter service.
However, delays are still being reported. The earliest delivery is now looking like 2023. But most airlines are suggesting the bulk of deliveries won’t happen until 2024 or 2025. For many airlines, that gives them more time to recover from the financial impact of the pandemic. However, if recovery is swift and demand grows, and the planes still aren’t ready, Boeing may seem the 320-strong orders drop.
More or fewer orders?
While the delays may be welcomed by some airlines, other airlines have voiced concern. Emirates President Tim Clark confirmed he has spoken to Boeing about the possibility that delays could be as late as 2025.
Emirates plans to use the new 777Xs to replace some of its older A380s. If the airline wants to recover well over the next years but won’t receive its new aircraft until around 2025, it could modify its order. There is also a rumor that Cathay Pacific could slash its order for 21 777X by half.
However, demand for the long-awaited 77X remains strong. It appears as if Lufthansa and Qatar Airways are vying for the position as the launch customer. Each airline hoping to get the new aircraft as soon as possible. British Airways also has the option for 24 more of the type, so this could see a small order increase for Boeing.
What do you think of the 777X program? Do you think we will see an increase in orders as the program inches nearer completion? Or will more airlines look to defer, swap, and cancel orders? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.