This comes as no big surprise as Boeing doesn’t expect to start shipping the 777X until the end of 2023, but Emirates has now announced that the 777X is not expected until 2024.
Emirates won’t ship the 777X until 2024
This week Emirates President Tim Clark announced that Emirates will not start delivering the brand new Boeing 777X until 2024. The Dubai-based airline is the launch customer for the aircraft and has also placed the largest 777X order.
In context, this is the latest generation Boeing 777 aircraft with higher capacity, greater range and all-round better economy. Emirates was originally scheduled to begin shipping the 777X in 2020, although that schedule was initially postponed to 2022. Then Boeing announced that deliveries would generally not start until the end of 2023, and now the airline has stated that it does not expect the aircraft to be delivered until 2024.
Emirates has currently ordered a total of 126 Boeing 777X:
- This includes 101 Boeing 777-9s and 25 Boeing 777-8s
- The 777-9s have a higher capacity while the 777-8s have a longer range
The overall delay in the Boeing 777X program appears to be due to a combination of Boeing’s problems with manufacturing, as well as Boeing’s negotiations with customers, and the realization that no one wants the aircraft right now because the aviation landscape has changed. In context:
- The first 777X test flight was scheduled to take place in mid-2019, but it didn’t take place until early 2020. This was due to problems with the engines
- Then came the pandemic, and at one point Boeing decided it only made sense to start shipping the 777X in late 2023 as there was currently no demand
- Emirates remains the world’s largest customer for the 777X, despite rumors that Emirates is trying to cut its 777X order significantly, replacing some orders with the 787
- Boeing’s records show that more than a third of 777X orders may have been canceled, although we don’t yet know which airlines are responsible for these cancellations (it’s highly likely that orders from Cathay Pacific and Etihad Airways are no longer a safe bet ).
The Boeing 777-9
In addition to the custom-made 777X, Emirates has also ordered the following other aircraft:
Emirates has also ordered the A350-900
The 787-9 order was part of a reduction in Emirates’ 777X order – the airline initially ordered 150 777X orders but adjusted those to 126 777X and 30 787-9 orders. It now sounds like Emirates is trying to swap even more 777X orders for 787s.
Why Emirates’ 777X delays are bad news
While I love the Boeing 777 in general, and I trust the 777X will be an all-round beautiful aircraft, there is a reason I’m particularly excited. That’s because several airlines will be installing new premium cabin products on the 777X.
While Emirates won’t install any new products, these planes will get what I consider to be the best first class in the world.
Emirates will install its new premium suites on the 777X. These are currently only found on fewer than a dozen 777-300ERs. Since Emirates does not plan to retrofit existing aircraft with these seats, it means that fewer than a dozen aircraft will have these seats in the next three years.
Emirates’ planned 777X First Class
Emirates’ planned 777X First Class
This has to be one of the slowest new premium rollouts in history. Emirates’ new first-class suite was originally launched in late 2017. So it will likely be almost seven years before more than a dozen planes have these seats.
Unfortunately, Emirates’ 777X Business Class isn’t all that exciting as the airline will be using essentially the same product it currently has on A380. Ultimately, this is a perfect fit, but nothing to get upset about. Maybe the plane pushed back a few years will make the airline reconsider?
Emirates’s planned 777X Business Class
Unfortunately, Emirates doesn’t plan to start flying any of its new 777X until 2024 at the earliest. These aircraft were originally scheduled to join Emirates’ fleet from 2020. However, this was delayed due to engine problems with the aircraft and then delayed due to the pandemic.
Boeing will now start delivering the 777X at the end of 2023 at the earliest. I think we should at least hope that the timeline is followed. In the meantime, Emirates may be swapping more 777X orders for 787s.
What do you think of Emirates’ delayed Boeing 777X timeline? Do you think the airline will cancel further 777X orders?