A senior Boeing executive has confirmed that Emirates will be the first to receive the new Boeing 777X Widebody when it rolls out in 2020. Emirates will receive its first 777X ahead of previous launch customer Lufthansa, which is rethinking whether it needs the 20 777Xs that it ordered.
“Emirates is now actually ahead of its original mid-2020 schedule to recieve its first 777X aircraft,” said Marty Bentrott, Boeing’s Vice President of Sales for Middle East, Turkey, Russia, and Central Asia. “When we launched the program at Dubai Air Show in 2013, we stood at the podium and Emirates was the key fundamental launch customer and at the same time we announced other customers as part of the launch group.
The delivery of Emirates’ 777X is ahead of 777X deliveries to Lufthansa, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific, and Singapore Airlines.
At the time it was placed, Emirate’s order for 150 777X aircraft, then valued at $76 billion, was the largest aircraft order by value in the history of US commercial aviation. It includes 35 777-8s and 115 Boeing 777-9Xs, plus purchase rights for 50 additional aircraft. Emirates currently has the largest order for the 777, making up about half of the orders for the aircraft.
Bentrott said that the 777X program is ahead of schedule and has a great Backlog in the Middle East. Bentrott also said that the successful launch of the 777X with Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar as customers is something that Boeing is excited about.
Emirates has yet to comment on being named the first receiver of the 777X or on how it plans to deploy the planes. However, there is speculation that the planes will be used on long-haul routes, since the 777X is build for long flights. Boeing says that the aircraft, which seats up to 425 in a standard configuration, can, eventually, replace Emirates’ existing fleet of 777s.
“The 777-8X would be a good replacement for older 777-300ERs,” said aviation analyst Addison Scotland, a partner at AirInsight. “But the big issue is the 777X and the A380 – will EK go for the A380plus? Big decisions here.”
Emirates is considering expanding its fleet passed the 777 and A380 aircraft that it already operates. The airline is allegedly considering to buy a fleet of either Boeing 787 Dreamliners or Airbus A350s. Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman and CEO of Emirates Airline Group, said that Emirates will make a decision on new aircraft by the end of the year.
“I believe [the 787] will become a part of [the Emirates] fleet,” said Bentrott, who says that Boeing is confident that Emirates will buy its new planes from them. “Emirates is going through their analysis and we have been working with Emirates very closely for the past couple of years with regards to the capabilities of the 787 – how the airplane might be configured so that they can have a consistent passenger environment as they have with their [current] 777s and will have with the new 777s. We remain ready to support Emirates with the 787s if and when they get to the point of wanting to go in that direction.”
Boeing plans to seal multiple orders at the upcoming Dubai Air Show. “There will be orders at the Dubai Air Show. I am not ready to say what the magnitude will be,” said Bentrott.
The 777-9X test aircraft is set to fly for the first time next year.
Featured image by Alec Mollenhauer