Earlier today the details of Emirates’ new premium economy were revealed, as well as new A380 cabin finishes. As part of this announcement, the Dubai-based airline let some other interesting news slip.
Emirates won’t take delivery of 777Xs until 2023
Emirates now only intends to start taking delivery of the brand new Boeing 777X as of 2023. For context, this is the latest generation Boeing 777 aircraft, featuring higher capacity, more range, and all around better economics.
Emirates was initially supposed to start taking delivery of the plane in 2020, though that timeline was recently pushed back to 2022, and now it has slipped by another year.
Emirates currently has a total of 126 Boeing 777Xs on order:
- This includes 101 Boeing 777-9s and 25 Boeing 777-8s
- The 777-9s are higher capacity, while the 777-8s are longer range
This delay is presumably partly due to Boeing’s own delays with the aircraft, and partly due to Emirates’ desire to push back delivery of these planes, given the current aviation landscape:
- The first 777X test flight was supposed to take place in mid-2019, but only ended up taking place in early 2020; this was due to issues with the engines
- The last we heard is that Boeing plans to start 777X production in 2021, and deliveries in 2022
- Emirates was supposed to be one of the launch customers of the 777X, so it remains to be seen if 777X deliveries are being delayed altogether until 2023, or if Emirates just managed to push back its own deliveries
The Boeing 777-9
In addition to the 777Xs on order, Emirates also has the following other aircraft on order:
- 50 Airbus A350-900s, expected to be delivered starting in 2023
- 30 Boeing 787-9s, expected to be delivered starting in 2023
Emirates also has A350-900s on order
Only time will tell if the timeline of these deliveries sticks. The 787-9 order was part of a reduction of Emirates’ 777X order — the airline initially ordered 150 777Xs, but adjusted that to 126 777Xs and 30 787-9s.
Why Emirates’ 777X delays are bad news
While I love the Boeing 777 in general, and trust that the 777X will be a lovely plane all around, there’s a reason I’m particularly excited. That’s because several airlines will be installing new premium cabin products on the 777X.
While Emirates won’t be installing new products altogether, these planes will get what I consider to be the world’s best first class.
Emirates will be installing its new first class suites on the 777X. These are currently only found on fewer than a dozen 777-300ERs. With Emirates not having plans to retrofit any existing planes with these seats, that means that for the next three years, fewer than a dozen planes will have these seats.
Emirates’ planned 777X first class
Emirates’ planned 777X first class
This has to be one of the slowest new first class rollouts in history. Emirates’ new first class suite was initially introduced in late 2017, so it will likely be over six years before more than a dozen planes feature those seats.
Unfortunately Emirates’ 777X business class isn’t much to get excited about, as the airline will essentially be using the same product it currently has on A380s. Ultimately this is a perfectly fine seat, but nothing to get excited about. Maybe the plane being pushed back by a few years will cause the airline to reconsider?
Emirates’ planned 777X business class
Unfortunately Emirates won’t start taking delivery of its 126-strong Boeing 777X order until 2023 at the earliest. These planes were initially supposed to join Emirates’ fleet as of 2020, though that was delayed due to engine issues with the plane, and then delayed due to the pandemic.
Since Boeing was supposed to start delivering 777Xs as of 2022, this raises the question of whether production is being pushed back altogether, or if Emirates managed to get further back in the delivery queue.
What do you make of Emirates’ delayed 777X timeline? Do you think all 777X deliveries will be delayed until 2023?