Emirates to swap some Boeing 777X orders for 787s

The Gulf colossus seeks to switch its Boeing mix from the biggest 777-9 to the mid-sized Dreamliner.

By Bloomberg News, August 21 2020
Emirates to swap some Boeing 777X orders for 787s

Emirates has decided on its preferred mix of new Boeing wide-body planes, with the focus likely to be on smaller aircraft rather than jumbo jets following a slump in demand amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Dubai-based carrier has been pushing to swap more of Boeing’s behemoth 777X jets – of which it has ordered 115 – for 787 Dreamliners, of which it already has 30 of the 787-9 variant on order.

The composition of the intake has been finalized, Chief Operating Officer Adel Al Redha said in an interview Thursday, declining to provide details.

Negotiations are ongoing about the timing of the plane deliveries, Al Redha said, with Emirates preferring to take the smaller Dreamliner sooner rather than later as it “offers better seat capacity” at a time when demand for international travel is flagging.

Boeing lists the nominal capacity of the 777-9 at 426 passengers in a standard two-class configuration, with a comparably-configured 787-9 at a more modest 290 passengers.

Emirates would have at least three classes – business, economy and its all-new premium economy offering – on the 787-9, while the 777-9 will have six first class suites.

Also read: Emirates plans for new Boeing 777X first, business class

Boeing wants to hand over the larger 777X first, the COO said, in line with an agreement made before the coronavirus tore up the plans of airlines around the world.

“I think Boeing would prefer to deliver the 777s before 787 because that is a new program for them,” Al Redha said. Boeing declined to comment.

Deliveries delayed

Emirates is particularly affected by a downturn in demand for air travel as the largest long-haul carrier in the world, typically operating more than 500 flights a day and using its Dubai hub to connect travelers from Europe and the U.S. to Africa and Asia.

Its swollen order book also includes Airbus A380 superjumbos and 50 smaller A350s, which are now the subject of separate delivery talks.

Emirates was supposed to take delivery of three A380s in June, but the carrier agreed with Airbus to delay these until later this year, the COO said.

The 777X’s commercial debut was originally set for 2020 but has been postponed to 2022 as the manufacturer faces regulatory scrutiny and uncertain demand. Emirates is scheduled to take the delivery of the first of 30 787s in 2023.

“It’s a very complicated equation at this time,” Al Redha said. “We don’t want to dump capacity in the airline when the airline can’t absorb capacity.”

The discussions between Emirates and Boeing are being echoed in talks between airlines and manufacturers worldwide, as carriers are forced to reexamine expansion strategies to adapt to the post-pandemic environment.

Travel bans to contain the coronavirus all but grounded air traffic for much of the first half of the year, and government reopening plans are in the throes of disruption due to fresh restrictions to respond to new surges.

Also read: The design and evolution of Emirates' signature Airbus A380 bar

Additional reporting by David Flynn

This article is published under license from Bloomberg Media: the original article can be viewed here


03 May 2013

Total posts 673

I would MUCH prefer to fly in a modern 787 over an ancient, loud and cramped 777, which I always go out of my way to avoid wherever possible. The 777X  is nothing more than lipstick on a pig.

Ah, Joe, we can always rely upon you to slam the 777 any chance you get. Give it a rest. But I will agree with you this once, the 787 offers a superior flying experience.


03 May 2013

Total posts 673

I'll voice my opinion just as you are free to voice yours. Otherwise keep your suggestions to yourself.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Mar 2014

Total posts 23

Think the 777X could be a 2030 product but all new design - Airlines will have a hard time bringing it into their fleet and like B747 & A380 (both amazing aircraft that I loved to fly on) is not a product needed now.  This could be a RIP before release!!!  The world has changed and Boeing needs to wake up to what’s needed now!

Better still why didn't Emirates order A350 instead and ditch the other two. 

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Emirates to swap some Boeing 777X orders for 787s