As frustration grows over delivery delays, Emirates has expressed its willingness to consider more Boeing 787 Dreamliners in place of late-arriving 777X jets.
Emirates Open To Swapping Delayed 777X For 787
Boeing’s 777X program is three years behind schedule and Emirates is not happy about it. Despite the pandemic, Emirates is forecasting long-term growth and planned that around a refreshed fleet of 777 jets. But production delays, supply shortages, and distractions from the 737MAX disaster have resulted in a multi-year delay on the program.
In 2019, Emirates reduced its 777X order from 150 to 126 jets in a deal in which the Dubai-based carrier also ordered 30 Dreamliners. This week, Emirates met with Boeing to discuss aircraft orders. Asked about the possibility of ordering more 787s, Emirates’ Chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum told Reuters:
“It is always a possibility.
“We are assessing our fleet requirements as we speak.”
Sheikh Ahmed has led Emirates since 1985 and also noted that Emirates has only carried about 30% of the passengers in the fiscal year which just ended than in previous years. Yet he sees optimism in pent-up travel demand:
“A lot of people [who] stopped travelling for the last year and a half … want to travel.”
But any routes resumptions will be based upon demand and border re-openings:
“We don’t just open a route for the sake of opening or just for a publicity reason.”
Emirates has a fleet of over 100 Airbus A380 aircraft and is not in immediate need for new aircraft. However, the carrier is thinking long-term and recognizes, especially in a post-pandemic world, that a smaller Dreamliner may make sense on more routes. Looks for Emirates to use Boeing’s long-running delays to negotiate a particularly sweet deal for more 787s.