Emirates Will Test The Boeing 777X In Dubai During Certification

Gulf carrier Emirates has said it plans to test the Boeing 777X in Dubai. The aircraft will undergo a trial at the airline’s hub at some point in August next year.

Emirates wants to test the Boeing 777X in Dubai next year. Photo: Boeing

The all-important test

Sitting with the head of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the president of Emirates proposed plans to assiduously test the Boeing 777X before it enters service. The reason is to prevent further aviation tragedies like the two fatal crashes caused by issues with the 737 MAX.

After an interview with the FAA, Tim Clark told Flight Global:


“I want one aircraft to go through hell on earth to make sure it all works…This is going to be a proper certification programme.”


His comment comes after speculation that Boeing suggested offering more airframes into the test schedule. His answer was a solid no.

And, who can fault Emirates for putting safety ahead of its desire to launch the new aircraft? The airline doesn’t just want assurance of the aircraft’s airworthiness. It wants confirmation that the aircraft is able to withstand routine conditions specific to Emirates. Tim Clark specified that he intended to test the aircraft to ensure:


“…the GE engine will do all the things they say it’ll do in the kind of conditions we operate over here.”

For that reason, the airline will receive the aircraft in Dubai in the height of summer next year where it will undergo a testing period of around two months. We contacted Emirates for more information about the specifics of the test but it said no more information would be shared at this time.

Why the extra caution?

Well, of course, no one wants to see a repeat of the Boeing MAX fatalities. But it’s not just that which is spurring Emirates’ caution with its next Boeing delivery. It’s the integrity of the 777X itself.

Emirates wants to ensure the aircraft is suitable after previous engine issues. Photo: Boeing

Earlier this year, the GE9X engines which drive the aircraft succumbed to a number of issues. This not only rocked the confidence in the quality of the aircraft’s engineering but also delayed its distribution. The engines, which are the world’s most powerful, have since been replaced by the issuer, GE.

Understandably, by testing the aircraft itself Emirates is taking a meticulous approach in ensuring passenger safety. It will not want the enthusiasm generated around the 777X to pale into insignificance.

The rigorous testing schedule and obligation to overcome design faults have led to a delayed first flight. But it seems for Emirates, at least, the aircraft will not be introduced a moment too soon.

Boeing hopes its first test-flight will kick-off in the early months of 2020 ahead of Emirates’ proposed testing.

2020 – the year for testing

2020 was meant to be an important year for 777X deliveries, not testing. However, Emirates and other airlines will now see the first of the aircraft delivered in 2021.

As a result, Emirates has ordered other aircraft. Emirates today announced that it would be replacing some of its 777X orders with 787-9. Emirates will now substitute 30 of its 150 777X orders for the Dreamliner.

Emirates today placed an order to revoke some of its 777X deliveries. Photo: Thomas Boon/Simple Flying

But today the airline remained positive about the introduction of the 777X. It said in a statement:

“We are also pleased to reaffirm our commitment to the Boeing 777x programme and look forward to its entry into service.”

And why is it so enthusiastic about the Boeing 777X?

What are Emirates plans for its 777X?

Emirates is eager to create a broader fleet for more growth. Photo: Emirates

Emirates is keen to undertake a fleet renovation. It looked to the 777X to be the guiding light on producing a broader fleet. And with an expanded fleet will come growth for the airline.

After expecting the aircraft to arrive mid-next year, it makes sense that Emirates is agitated with the delays. Testing the aircraft itself will at least allow Emirates some control over the situation and satiate its appetite for further development.

What do you make of Emirates plans? Let us know in the comments!


Leave a Reply

10 Comment threads
10 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
14 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted

Of course he wants to test their limits in the hot season in Dubai. The 787-10 wasn’t able to work at max capacity in that period. It would be a big headache for Emirates if the 777x must operate below max capacity in the hot season in Dubai. If that’s the case, I guess Emirates doesn’t want the aircraft at all

Sahil Gupta

As there are no. of Boeing 777 ageing….. 777x would be beneficial in long run ( If without faults) but there is still a plenty of time for it…in this case 787( Recently Ordered) would be perfect fit till the deliveries of 777x and A350 would be slowly replace A380( BEAST!!!! )

Moaz Abid

mate look at the trent 1000 issues


What enthusiasm? It’s an old aircraft with new and technically immature engines (like any other ‘modern’ engine out there seems to be) plus folding wing-tips, a concpt patented and first realized in the 1910’s…


Order another 150 A380 and live BOEING to simmer in their failure. If is BOEING I Ain’t GOING.


This is interesting. Reading between the lines, Emirates is saying; We’re going to do our own certification, to see if the aircraft performs as advertised. Then we’ll talk about taking deliveries… I’m guessing that because of the size of the order – Boeing has to say yes, but this is hardly a boost for them. Imagine if every customer who was thinking of ordering planes, made that same demand and got an aircraft to kick the tires on. Imagine the potential for airlines to say,”Oh, nice plane, but before we take it we want you to change this, this and… Read more »


The FAA indicated today that it’s going to be much stricter when certifying the 777X.
I’d say Emirates can see some dark clouds hanging over the project…



Good point, Peter.
I think this is also a desire by Emirates to make sure that the 777X does what Boeing says it will do – given the needs of the airline in the warm summer months. I wonder if a ‘test drive’ is the wave of the future for airlines. “Could you leave this loaner with us for a few weeks, we’d like to see how it drives…”


Well, isn’t that what Airbus did with the A300 to enter the US market?

Moaz Abid

The FAA don’t need another MAX drama

High Mile Club

I doubt there will be some significant changes in the handling between the 777 and 777x. The size difference between the GE90 and GE9X are noticeable, but not Very significant. I know the folding wingtips are definitely one of the functions that have been scrutinized repeatedly because potential false that might prevent the aircraft from handling properly, but those have already passed certification. For Emirates, whether the aircraft can operate at Max Capacity during their busiest seasons is highly important, and if it doesn’t deliver they might defer or cancel orders.

Moaz Abid

The thing is, does the 777x really need folding wingtips


Perhaps Emirates want to see for themselves what the fuel consumption of the 777X is compared to the A350 and 787 (and A380). I can imagine that any airline with the 777X on order is continually “haunted” by the Airbus mantra that “a full A350 weighs less than an empty 777X”. Perhaps Emirates feels that the Boeing fuel consumption projections are too good to be true…

High Mile Club

That’s just a marketing ploy to get people to buy their product. Airbus knows they don’t really know how much the 777x really weighs, but anything they can say to snub competition is useful for them. I like the A350, but I’ve always liked the 777 series, and not just for looks.


Keep in mind that the 777X wing is about 19 percent larger (wing area) than the wing on the 777-300ER (77W) — i.e. 518 m2 vs 436 m2 — and that wing bending weight scales cubically with span and that the 777-9 wing has a higher aspect ratio than the wing on the 777-300ER. Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) saves about 10% of wing weight — so on net the 777-9’s wing will be significantly heavier than the wing on the 777-300ER. Add a significantly heavier metal fuselage; a non composite centre wing box; larger vertical/horizontal tailplanes; heavier landing gear… Read more »

High Mile Club

I like the analysis and math you used to find the answer: rarely find anyone capable of doing so on the internet. However, like you said, it’s all just an estimate; until we get the real numbers from Boeing or another trusted source. I trust your numbers though, but I doubt airlines will shy away and just buy an A350 just because this plane is heavier. For certain routes overall weight is a significant factor, but the 777-9 would be serving routes being served by older aircraft; and in some cases it might be an A380 replacement as they’re pulled… Read more »

Warren Mills

I feel this is the start of how new designed aircraft are accepted by airlines. While they’ve not come right out and said it, I believe this is the industry saying they no longer trust Boeing and the FAA in their verification procedures and want to check what has been claimed is true before putting passengers and staff lives in the care of an aircraft.

David G

10/10 to Emirates for this. You test drive a car before committing so why not a plane. Makes a lot of sense.

Mark Thompson

Airbus needs to widen the cabin of the 350 to compete with the 777

Nate Dogg

What a stupid thing to say? Why? Some will say Boeing needs to drop 30 tonnes of weight out of the 777. The A350-1000 with increased MTOW to 321T has basically just made the 777-8x obsolete before it is even built!!!