Dubai Airshow Day 4 – What Happened?

With moody skies and torrential downpours looking to dampen what has so far been a bumper show for Airbus, here is a look at what happened on day four of the Dubai Airshow.

Emirates orders 30 Boeing 787-9s. Photo: Emirates

The biggest news to come out the penultimate Day 4 of the Dubai Airshow was the announcement by Emirates that it is reducing the number of orders for Boeings problematic 777X. Dubai’s flagship carrier has decided to cut its orders for the 777X by 30 aircraft to 126 by employing its substitution rights to swap the order out for 30 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.

The 777X has been delayed due to problems with the GE9X engine

The 777X program over at Boeing has been beset with engine problems involving the massive General Electric GE9X engine needed to power the plane putting Boeing behind schedule with its deliveries.


This delay in the availability of the 777X has obviously led Emirates to rethink its strategy moving forward.

Emirates also ordered Airbus jets at the Dubai Airshow. Photo: Emirates

Despite the reduction in the numbers of 777X aircraft, Emirates will take, the Gulf State full-service airline still remains Boeing’s biggest customer for the 777X, as it looks to replace its thirsty four-engine Airbus A380s.

In spite of all the setbacks with the 777X program, Emirates will still be the launch airline for the plane which is now expected to enter service in 2021.


The Emirates order was important for Boeing

After Emirates and Boeing’s lawyers went over the agreement with a fine-tooth comb, a deal was reached this morning for the $9 billion. When speaking to reporters following the signing of the contract Reuters reports Emirates Chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum of saying:

“The 787s will complement our fleet mix by expanding our operation flexibility in terms of capacity range and deployments.”

In a big way, the Emirates deal with Boeing is very important as it shows that one of the world’s biggest carriers still believes in the Seattle plane maker’s product.

Emirates swapped out 777X orders for the smaller 787-9. Photo: Emirates

As we all know the public’s opinion of Boeing is probably at an all-time low following two deadly crashed and the grounding of the company’s best-selling 737 MAX back in March.

Boeing did, however, receive a shot of penicillin yesterday after landing 30 firm orders for the embattled MAX. Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa subsidy SunExpress ordered 10 737 MAX 8s, while a so-far unnamed buyer put an order in for 10 of the larger 737 MAX-10s.

On top of this low-cost Kazakhstan airline, Air Astana told Boeing that it would like to order 30 737 MAXs at a later date.


Other than the Boeing news, it was mostly military business getting done on day four of the show. The UAE purchased defensive missile systems and three Airbus A330 aerial refueling aircraft.

You have to suspect that all the major deals that were going to take place at the Dubai Airshow have now happened and that tomorrows last day will be spent tying up the loose ends.

If something unexpected should happen Simple Flying’s Tom Boon is at the airshow to deliver all the breaking news.


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Emirates is not the launch customer, Lufthansa is.

Richard Johnson

I have seen this a lot lately with the orders of the 777. Taking the 787 as replacement. Is the 777 to big of a plane or the 787 just a better fit?

High Mile Club

The 787 has sometimes been pitched as a replacement for the 777-200. I don’t entirely agree with that, but the 787 is easier to fill due to its smaller size and fuel savings inherited from the newer engines. I see it more as a replacement for the 767 above all else.


It depends on how the airlines configured their aircraft. For airlines that has 9 abreast economy on their B777-200ER, the B787-9 will give a similar capacity in same 9 abreast configuration. Their length of cabin is quite similar. But for those airlines that configured their B777-200ER to 10 abreast in economy, the B787-9 will be a downsized. The A350-900 on the other hand offer a similar capacity to the 10 abreast B777-200ER. Likewise for the A350-1000, it only offers the same capacity as the 9 abreast B777-300ER. For those airlines with 10 abreast B777-300ER configuration, their only option is to… Read more »


Except, I think that for many of the smaller airlines around the world who make use of the 777-300ER for long haul international routes, the 777-9 will be too big and too expensive for them..the only relief would be if Boeing offered bargain basement prices in order to keep the A350 out.


Orders for Boeing day 4:
30 B787-9 (firm)

Cancellation for Boeing day 4
24 B777X (firm)
6 B777W (firm)
40 B787-10 (commitment)