Dubai: Boeing on Saturday said it was “not rushing” to introduce its 777x jets into commercial service. The twin-engine jetliner is running at least two-and-a-half years behind its originally planned arrival of June 2020.
Dubai’s Emirates airline is Boeing’s biggest 777x customer with 115 firm orders. In the past, Emirates President Tim Clark has publicly expressed his annoyance with the plane-maker on several occasions on delays surrounding the jet.
Boeing said its decision to delay the launch of the aircraft was due to regulatory requirements and the current state of the aviation market.
“The discussions we're having with customers are multifaceted - we're talking to the regulatory side of it, and the flight testing side of it, and then we're talking to the market side,” said Ihssane Mounir, Boeing’s senior vice president of commercial sales and marketing, in a media briefing ahead of the Dubai Airshow.
“When you look at why we are planning to move to 2023, it's all of these factors together,” said Mounir.
The Boeing executive also said the company was in “advanced discussions” with a number of customers regarding the cargo version of the 777x aircraft.
Demand for freighters has gone through the roof during the pandemic with global consumers shopping online for everything from tech gadgets to groceries. Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometers, was up 7.7 per cent compared to August 2019, according to IATA (International Air Transport Association).
“Cargo has been one of the silver linings of this crisis for us as a manufacturer and also for the airlines in terms of logistics requirements that we had across the globe,” said Mounir.
Boeing’s 737 MAX has still not received approval to fly in China, one of the largest domestic aviation markets in the world.
“We've had good engagements with the CAC (Civil Aviation Administration of China) and the airlines in China,” said Mounir. “We continue to work with the regulator (and) I'm not going to get ahead of them in terms of predicting when that will happen”
Aerospace industry CEOs, executives, and officials will gather at the Dubai Airshow on November 14 as the pandemic’s first in-person aviation event takes off.
The air show, which will go on till November 18, will be the largest aerospace trade event to be held globally, with the cancellation of European shows Farnborough and Le Bourget in 2020 and 2021, respectively. The event, which is expected to pull in more than 85,000 visitors, will take place at its purpose-built venue -- Dubai Airshow Site -- at the Dubai World Central airport