Just over a year ago, in a capital market day presentation, British Airways owner IAG revealed that it would receive its first Boeing 777-9 aircraft in 2022. However, with delays to the program, will the order still arrive as planned? Simple Flying looks at what we know so far.
The Boeing 777X is the American aerospace manufacturer’s latest variant of the popular Boeing 777 family. The aircraft comes as the giant winds down its Boeing 747 program. However, the aviation gods haven’t been kind on the 777X thus far, with the program facing severe headwinds primarily due to engine issues initially.
18 firm Boeing 777X orders
In November 2019, British Airways, through its owner IAG, revealed its long-term widebody delivery plan. Among other things, such as a two-year gap in Airbus A321(X)LR deliveries, the slide also revealed the airline’s Boeing 777X delivery plan.
According to the plan, IAG Would take eight aircraft in 2022, seven in 2023, one in 2024, and two in 2025. This would give a total of 18 aircraft, equivalent to the group’s firm orders for the type. As the 777Xs are only bound for British Airways, this would also correspond to their entry into service with the British flag carrier.
Simple Flying contacted IAG for comment on the current status of 777X deliveries to British Airways. A spokesperson for the airline group declined to comment.
Will the plan live up to expectations?
Earlier this year, Boeing formally announced a delay to the Boeing 777X project. While the first aircraft delivery had been expected to occur this year to Lufthansa, the aircraft didn’t take its first flight until January.
In late July, alongside its Q2 results, Boeing announced that it wouldn’t deliver its first 777X aircraft until 2022. This represents a delay of two years. Lufthansa is currently expected to take delivery of the first Boeing 777X, with Emirates set to be the second customer.
However, yesterday while revealing its new premium economy product, UAE carrier Emirates let slip that it now wasn’t expecting to take delivery of its first 777X until 2023. Assuming that the current expected delivery order is maintained, this would impact many carriers.
Given the above, it seems unlikely that British Airways will receive its first Boeing 777X in 2022, while eight deliveries seem even less likely. The Boeing 777X was due to replace Boeing 747s in British Airways’ fleet. To rightsize itself for the current situation, the airline this year retired its last 747s early.
This gives the airline a smaller fleet until new deliveries occur, hopefully in line with the return of passenger demand. It also has a potential disadvantage. If the Boeing 777X doesn’t come as planned, the airline now can’t extend the life of the aircraft it is replacing.
When do you think British Airways will take delivery of its first Boeing 777X? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!