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Emirates pushes Boeing to hurry up with new B777

Posted 11 May 2012 · Add Comment

Emirates believes Boeing is close to finalising a new version of the B777 to meet the Dubai airline's demands for the next stage of growth.

Speaking on Reuters TV, Emirates president Tim Clark said: "The 777 and its derivative is of great interest to us because we started taking the 777-300ERs in 2005 and they will start retiring in a 12 year period.

 “We've been working with them for quite a long time and are a little bit exasperated by the time its taking. My view is that a significant number of carriers will sign up for this airplane,” he said.

In the interview Clark also warned Airbus not to let the A350XWB programme run up three years of development delays, like those experienced on Boeing's 787 Dreamliner.

"We are watching it very closely. We don't want to get caught in the same way as the 787s. We can't afford a three year delay on this," Clark said.

Clark was one of the airline leaders to criticise Airbus's decision last year upgrade the A350-1000 variant while at the same time delaying development by two years.

Emirates has 20 A350-1000s on order.

Industry analyst Saj Ahmad who has been closely monitoring the wide-body debate said: "Emirates seems poised to launch both the longer range 777-8X and the higher capacity stretched 777-9X when Boeing gets approval to offer the family to customers. Given the high level of uncertainty on the A350-1000, of which Emirates has been immensely critical (as have Etihad and Qatar Airways), the airline has lost faith in Airbus' ability to deliver a worthy competitor to Boeing's hot selling 777-300ER.

“Clearly, the A350-1000s marketing mantra of delivering 25% lower fuel burn is not washing with Emirates and that was seen most recently with their order for 50 777-300ERs with options on 20 more. Emirates is expanding and is mitigating against further A350XWB program difficulties with those 777s. It also means that just 20 A350-1000s in its fleet will not be enough to displace the existing 777-300ERs, particularly those that will still be new when delivered later on mid-decade. Emirates has been toying for a while now about what to do with the A350-1000 orders, and like Etihad, is poised to jettison them.

“That's why they are pressing Boeing to launch the 777X family, a lower cost, less risky development that will effectively make the A350-1000 redundant, particularly as the Airbus jet will still have an inferior range, performance, higher seat costs and less available space for freight, the latter of which is vital to Emirates' revenue.

 “While Boeing is right to keep its 777X cards close to its chest, the project is a much further advanced than is known publicly, and with Clarkes comments about Emirates wanting the launch to happen sooner, not later, the A350-1000 at the airline is in serious jeopardy while the program, with just 62 firm orders, is at high risk of not just being a perennial loss making airplane project, but one that could well be cancelled before the middle of next decade."

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