Emirates targets 1Q24 for B777X deliveries, mulls B787 swap

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Emirates (EK, Dubai Int’l) does not expect to take delivery of its first B777-9 earlier than the first quarter of 2024, despite Boeing‘s target of late 2023, President Tim Clark said during a CAPA virtual conference.

“The B777X was due to come in June of last year, now it’s unlikely, I think, to be [delivered] before the first quarter of 2024,” he said.

The Emirati carrier remains committed to the type, despite the delays, and is due to be among the first operators of the updated twinjet widebody, alongside Qatar Airways and Lufthansa. According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, it currently has firm orders for 115 units, including sixteen B777-8s and ninety-nine B777-9s.

“We were the driving force behind the B777-300(ER) transformation into the B777X,” Clark added while acknowledging hurdles with its type certification.

Emirates is, by far, the largest B777X Family customer taking over a third of all firm orders for the -8 and -9 variants. The second-largest customer, Qatar Airways, has firm orders for 60 units.

Clark underlined that the B777X will gradually replace the carrier’s A380-800s of which it currently operates 117 with a further five due to deliver as the last A380s to ever be produced. Clark said that the A380s will continue to fly for Emirates through the “mid-2030s”.

Despite the carrier’s unwavering commitment to the world’s largest commercial passenger jet, Clark recognised that in the post-COVID era Emirates would need more, albeit smaller, aircraft. In early February, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed sources, that Emirates was considering converting thirty-forty B777X orders to B787s.

As of now, Emirates has firm orders for thirty B787-9s, as well as for fifty A350-900s. Its existing fleet, the ch-aviation fleets advanced module shows, comprises exclusively A380s and B777s (ten B777-200(LR)s, 129 B777-300(ER)s, and eleven B777-200Fs).