Emirates’ Chief Unsure If Boeing Will Build The 777-8

Emirates Chairman Tim Clark has once again taken aim at the Boeing 777X program. The airline is expecting a hefty order of Boeing’s latest 777 iteration. However, speaking to Simple Flying earlier this year, Clark revealed that he has no visibility on the aircraft’s delivery timeline.

Emirates 777X
Emirates’ chairman has renewed his criticism of the Boeing 777X program. Photo: Boeing

It was initially anticipated that the Boeing 777X would be flying around the skies by now. While the aircraft is flying, it is only the four test aircraft so far. Initially, the program was delayed due to issues with the giant GE9X engines. Now, the first 777X delivery is currently planned for 2023.

Questioning the program again

Speaking to Reuters’ reporters at the IATA summit in Boston, Tim Clark let out his continued frustration over the 777X project. According to the publication, Clark called for ‘another grown-up conversation’ with Boeing on the matter. Commenting on the situation, a Boeing spokesperson told Simple Flying,

“Emirates is a valued Boeing customer and we welcome the airline’s continued engagement on 777X development. Working with global regulators, our team remains focused on a rigorous test program to demonstrate the safety, reliability and performance of the airplane.”

Reuters goes on to report that Clark isn’t sure when he will get the first Boeing 777-9. On top of this, he is said to have questioned whether Boeing will even get around to making the smaller -8. Earlier this year, he told Simple Flying,

“We should have had the first one in June of last year. And so far, we don’t have any visibility as to when the first one will arrive. It’s either the back end of 2023, 2024 or possibly even 2025.”

Emirates, Boeing 777X, Tim Clark
The airline’s first 777X has been built but not flown. Photo: Jay Singh – Simple Flying

Boeing is planning to get the 777-9 certified before it begins work on the -8’s certification. While we know that Boeing is currently anticipating the first 777-9 deliveries in late 2023, the same cannot be said for the -8. So far the four test aircraft have flown, while several other aircraft bound for airlines have begun construction. To date, no Boeing 777-8 aircraft have been built.

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Emirates’ Boeing 777X order

Emirates is the largest Boeing 777X customer as things stand, and has both the 777-9 and 777-8 on order. According to data from ch-aviaiton.com, the airline is expecting 16 of the smaller -8. Tied with 99 orders for the -9, this gives a total order of 115 aircraft. A total of 320 aircraft are currently on order from Boeing, meaning that Emirates is expecting 36% of the global order. The smallest order is from British Airways who only has 18 aircraft on order.

Boeing 777X
Clark reportedly questioned if the smaller 777-8 will be built at all. Photo: Boeing

At the Dubai Airshow in 2019 Emirates had already downsized its 777X order in favor of new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. In February it was reported that the Dubai-based carrier was considering swapping 45 of its remaining aircraft on order down to the Boeing 787 too.

What do you make of Tim Clark’s comments? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!