When Will Emirates Start Flying The 787 Dreamliner?

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When you think of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, you would be forgiven for not immediately thinking of Emirates. After all, the UAE airline only operates the Boeing 777 and Airbus A380. However, Emirates was involved in the development of the 787, so when will it start flying the type?

Emirates, Boeing 787, Delivery
Emirates has been involved in the 787 project since 2004. Photo: Emirates

Boeing officially launched the 787 program to the public in 2003. The American manufacturer went on to reveal the first model to the public just over 13 years ago. Now, almost 1,000 of the jets have been delivered, with over 1,500 ordered in total. Emirates has been working with Boeing on the 787 since 2004 but is yet to take delivery of its first aircraft.

Interested from an early point

Emirates has shown an interest in the 787 since a very early point. Indeed, according to a historical press release from Boeing, the UAE carrier was already showing a keen interest in the Dreamliner as early as 2004, then known by its placeholder as the Boeing 7E7.

According to the press release, at the time HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said,

“Emirates is working closely with Boeing on the 7E7 programme just as we did during the development stages of the 777. Keeping abreast of technological innovations has helped us maintain our advantage in the marketplace, and as we continue our globalization and expansion programme, we see a strong possibility of the 7E7 becoming a part of the Emirates fleet.”

Emirates, Boeing 787, Delivery
Emirates had initially committed to the larger Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner. Photo: Boeing

What’s the latest with the Emirates Boeing 787?

Despite seemingly dragging their feet with regards to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, it seems as though Emirates is now ready to commit to the program entirely. At last year’s Dubai Air Show, the airline finally firmed up an order for the type.

At the 2017 Dubai Air Show, the airline committed to taking 40 Boeing 787-10s, to complement its incoming fleet of 777X aircraft. This deal was worth $15.1 billion at list prices. However, it was downsized when confirmed last year. Indeed, Emirates is now expecting just 30 Boeing 787-9s with a list price of $8.8 billion.

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Emirates is expected to take delivery of its very first Boeing 787-9 aircraft in 2023, according to information at the time the firm order was announced. While the first delivery of the Boeing 777X has recently slipped back to 2022, the 787 delivery hasn’t been affected.

Emirates, Boeing 787, Delivery
Over the coming years, Emirates will diversify its fleet and also add Airbus A350s. Photo: Emirates

A whole new fleet?

The coming years will be a fascinating transition for Emirates. For the past years, the UAE airline has become known for its two aircraft fleet strategy. The airline’s fleet of aircraft is made up solely of the Airbus A380 and 777. As such, Emirates is forced to operate widebodies on its shortest routes.

While these two types are here to stay for the foreseeable future, the Emirates fleet is about to diversify. Alongside the addition of the Boeing 787, Emirates made another significant announcement at the Dubai Air Show. The airline hopes to take delivery of 50 Airbus A350-900 aircraft between 2023 and 2028.

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Are you excited to see the diversification of the Emirates fleet? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!

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