Dubai: As Boeing still attempts to salvage its production outlook following the global grounding of all its 737 Max aircraft, the American manufacturer may have a new issue to contend with — its 777X line.
Key client Emirates Airline, which has an order for 150 of the 777X’s, said it may postpone that order and potentially tweak it to include some smaller 787 jets.
In an interview with The Seattle Times on the sidelines of the Paris Air Show, Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airline, said the carrier is in talks with Boeing that may result in significant delay in a part of the 777X order.
Clark told the news outlet that he’s discussing with Boeing “a combination of the 150 777Xs and 40 787s, essentially looking to keep the numbers in place, but substituting and spacing them out over a longer timeline.”
The talks are reportedly close to being concluded, though it is unclear when an announcement on the modified order may be made or whether that will even be before the next Dubai Air Show, which will be held in November 2019.
The comments on modifying the airline’s order comes as Emirates rethinks its future network, having just finalised a new plan in April, The Seattle Times reported. The carrier in May reported a 69 per cent plunge in its net profit for the year ending March 31, 2019, as it said it faced “strong competitive pressure” as well as challenges from higher fuel costs.
“We think we can get things back on track again, while remaining cash positive, very soon, within the next two to three years,” Clark told the American news outlet.
Emirates confirmed that the information in the Seattle Times piece is correct, but did not provide any more details.
If Emirates does modify its order with Boeing, it would come within months of a similar move it made with Airbus when it cut some of its A380 order and replaced them with A330s and A350s.
For Boeing, such a move could be significant, given that the Dubai-based airline has ordered 150 of the 344 orders Boeing has for its 777X aircraft. The manufacturer is already working to address issues with its 737 Max aircraft, which was banned from flying by regulators across the globe after two fatal incidents involving the model. The fatalities have hit Boeing’s production outlook as many airlines, including flydubai, voice their complaints about communications with the manufacturer.