Emirates President: Boeing 777-9 Is The Only Place We Can Go

Yesterday, Tim Clark revealed that the Boeing 777-9 will be essential for Emirates when the Airbus A380 is gradually retired. Clark pointed out the slot constraints at major hub airports, tied with the capacity of other available aircraft, saying that the 777-9 is the only place that Emirates can go.

Boeing, 777-9, Emirates
According to Tim Clark, the Boeing 777-9 is the only place that Emirates can go. Photo: Boeing

Over recent months there has been a lot of drama between Emirates and the Boeing 777X program, given a series of delays to the aircraft. Indeed, just yesterday Emirates’ president said that “grown-up conversations” need to take place between the airline and the manufacturer regarding the program. However, it is not all bad news.

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“The only place we can go”

Yesterday, during an interview at The World Aviation Festival, Tim Clark once again touched on the issue of the Boeing 777X. Last month he told Simple Flying that he has no visibility on when the aircraft will be delivered, suggesting that the first delivery may not happen until 2025.

One might worry that, given Clark’s strong rhetoric on the subject, the airline’s order for the 777X could be at risk. After all, it was previously reported that Emirates was eyeing more 787 order swaps. However, it seems as though Emirates’ order for the larger 777-9 is safe, with Clark explaining its importance,

“I think the bigger the better. I think the 777-9 is the only place we can go once the A380 is gone. Don’t forget that we have four classes that have been introduced with premium economy which has brought the seat count down in absolute terms.”

Emirates SkyCargo, Boeing 777, Preighters
The 777X is designed to replace the oldest A380s. Photo: Vincenzo Pace – Simple Flying

He went on to explain that larger aircraft are important at slot constrained hubs as it allows the carrier to make the most of the route,

“It’s vital that we can maintain the six slots a day that we currently have [at London Heathrow] with the A380 on something like the 777-9, because there are no further slots available.”

How does the 777X compare to the Airbus A380?

The 777X will be quite a different beast to the Airbus A380. Quite obvious are the major cosmetic differences between the two. While the Airbus A380 has two passenger decks and four engines, the 777X has just half of this. With only one passenger deck, the 777X will carry fewer passengers.

Boeing, 777-9, Emirates
Emirates currently has the largest order for the 777X. Photo: Boeing

In Emirates’ latest four-class configuration the Airbus A380 seats 534 passengers. According to Boeing, in a two-class configuration, the 777X will carry 426 passengers. It goes without saying that in Emirates’ four-class configuration, that this will be lower. This means that the capacity to London will ultimately drop. There will be one bonus, however. With half the number of engines on the aircraft, it will be far more fuel-efficient.

Do you think the Boeing 777-9 is the only way forward for Emirates? Let us know what you think in the comments below!