Emirates Chairman Tim Clark has told reporters that the airline is prepared to cancel its order for 115 Boeing 777X aircraft if the manufacturer further delays the first deliveries beyond 2023.

The Emirati flag carrier’s current order comprises 99 B777-9s and 16 B777-8s, making it the world’s largest buyer of the particular aircraft type.

Emirates committed to Boeing order

Mr Clark emphasised that he remains committed to the airline’s aircraft order but makes no secret of the fact this stems from a lack of alternatives in the industry. He went on to reveal that he had petitioned rival Airbus to develop a replacement for the A380 but said the firm was not prepared to invest at this time.

Twelve B777-9 aircraft have so far been built for Emirates, but Mr Clark revealed that Boeing has only committed to delivering a maximum of five of them in 2024.

Boeing hopes to obtain the B777-9 type certificate by July 2023, but the entire procedure has been slowed in recent years as the Federal Aviation Administration makes changes intended to restore confidence in its certification processes.

Mr Clark added intensive engine tests were planned for the upcoming months, where aircraft will be subject to repeated maximum-power take-offs in Dubai’s hot and dusty climate.

“If [the delay] goes beyond 2023 and it goes on for another year, we will probably cancel the program. We can’t continue the way we are. Boeing really needs to get their act together and get this aircraft sorted. Don’t forget – the aircraft was originally designed for delivery in April 2020, it’s now 2024 if we are lucky.”

Mr Clark said Emirates’ order for thirty B787-9s was also in peril due to manufacturing issues discovered last year with the type’s production – “We don’t want to cancel the B787s or the B777s, we want the aeroplanes,” Mr Clark added.

Emirates Airbus A380
Emirates has plans to extend the lives of 80 of its A380s | © Andrea Ongaro / Travel Radar

The airline outlined concerns that the delivery delays will lead to capacity gaps as the industry continues to recover from the pandemic. Emirates plans to minimise the effects of the delays by extending the lives of around 120 aircraft, including 80 A380s and approximately 40 B777-300s, by about six to 10 years each.

Is Emirates right to threaten the cancellation of its Boeing order? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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