Remind Me: What’s Happening With Emirates’ Boeing 777X Order?

Emirates has confirmed that is has revised its order for the yet-to-be-released Boeing 777X. Following a previous reduction to its total order, the Dubai-based airline has further reduced its commitment to the new type.

Emirates Boeing 777-300ER
Emirates is currently the biggest operator of the Boeing 777, and will also become the biggest operator of the Boeing 777X when it is released. Photo: Aero Icarus via Flickr

A recent change to Boeing’s 777X order list has revealed another alteration to Emirates’ order for the type.

Flight Global reported yesterday that the new figures reveal Emirates has removed a further 11 aircraft from its total Boeing 777X order, which previously stood at 126 aircraft.

According to Emirates, these 11 aircraft are ‘subject to reconfirmation’, meaning that the aircraft will only remain in the order contract if the airline confirms that it wishes to keep them before a certain date.

Emirates’ previous reduction to its 777X order

This latest alteration is not the first time Emirates has changed its mind on the Boeing 777X.

Back in November, Emirates announced it would be swapping a number of Boeing 777X orders for Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.

With the placement of an order for 30 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, Emirates removed 24 Boeing 777X from its original contract. This contract, which originally consisted of 150 aircraft, now sits at just 115 confirmed orders.

Emirates Boeing 777
Emirates has swapped some of its Boeing 777X orders for Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Photo: Terence Ong via Wikimedia Commons

Discussing this initial order alteration, Emirates CEO Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, said:

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

According to Flight Global, the current composition of Emirates’ 777X order is 101 Boeing 777-9s and 25 Boeing 777-8s. As far as the 11 aircraft which are subject to reconfirmation, the specific type has not been disclosed.

Trouble for Boeing’s 777X programme?

Despite the considerable reduction in Emirates’ total Boeing 777X order, the carrier remains Boeing’s largest customer for the type by quite some margin.

The next largest customer is Qatar Airways which has ordered just 60 aircraft.

The Boeing 777X project has already been delayed significantly, a problem which will not be helped by further order reductions.

While the type was originally supposed to see its first flight in summer 2020, this has now been pushed back to early 2021.

The significant delay in getting the type to market has been caused by issues with General Electric’s GE9X engines which are due to be fitted to the 777X.

As a result of these engine issues, Boeing has not been able to stick to its original testing schedule and will have to wait until the issues with the GE9X have been ironed out.

Boeing 777X
The Boeing 777X programme has been significantly delayed. Photo: Dan Nevill via Wikimedia Commons

In its third-quarter results, Boeing said:

“The 777X program is progressing through pre-flight testing and remains on track for first flight in early 2020. The company is now targeting early 2021 for first delivery of the 777X.”

In a further blow for Boeing, Qantas yesterday confirmed that it has chosen the Airbus A350 over the Boeing 777X for its Project Sunrise ultra-long-haul flight programme.

Simple Flying has reached out to Emirates for comment on the latest reduction to its 777X order, but the airline has not yet been able to respond.