Fair: Emirates President Threatens Airbus & Boeing

Fair: Emirates President Threatens Airbus & Boeing

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Emirates President Tim Clark (understandably) isn’t happy with Airbus and Boeing, given the planes that the Dubai-based airline has on order. Unfortunately I’m not sure there’s a whole lot that he can do, given that global commercial aircraft manufacturing is essentially a duopoly.

The aircraft Emirates has on order

Emirates currently operates a fleet of 250+ aircraft, consisting exclusively of Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 aircraft. With Airbus A380 production having ended, and current generation Boeing 777s more or less being outdated, the airline is looking to other aircraft for fleet renewals.

Specifically, Emirates has ordered the following aircraft:

  • 50 Airbus A350-900s, with deliveries expected to start in 2023(ish)
  • 30 Boeing 787-9s, with deliveries expected to start in 2023(ish)
  • 115 Boeing 777Xs, with deliveries expected to start in 2024 (ish)

The problem is that at this point the delivery timeline for just about all Emirates future delivery aircraft is up in the air, and that poses a major issue.

Emirates has 30 Boeing 787s on order

Emirates’ issues with future delivery aircraft

In an interview with Airline Ratings, Emirates President Tim Clark expressed frustration about all the planes that the airline has on order. What’s the problem?

The biggest issue is with the Boeing 777X, since this will eventually become the backbone of Emirates’ fleet. Clark calls the current situation with Boeing “a complete mess.” Emirates was supposed to take delivery of its first 777X in April 2020, but that timeline has slipped significantly. Currently Boeing is hoping for the 777X to be certified by mid-2023. Clark isn’t too confident about the timeline. As he explains:

“Honestly, if it goes beyond 2023 and it goes on for another year, we probably cancel the program. What else can we do? We can’t continue the way we are. Boeing really needs to get their act together and get this aircraft sorted. Don’t forget – the aircraft was originally designed for delivery in April 2020, it’s now 2024 if we are lucky. You’ve now got a four-year delay with the program. If they got another year on it, we are going to question if this is fit for purpose or not, what’s the problem with it? I hope it doesn’t happen, as there is nowhere else we could go. They are building the biggest aircraft and we want it. It was done at our request back in 2010, I don’t even want to think about it not being happening.”

Emirates has a massive order for the Boeing 777X

It’s one thing if it were just the 777X Emirates was having issues with, but the Boeing 787-9 isn’t much better. Boeing is now having Boeing 787 production issues, and the 737 MAX fiasco is only going to make certification of these planes more challenging. As Clark explains:

“The total of 30 787s in there look very marginal now as they are so far behind in production. They were supposed to come in May 2023. But it’s not going to happen, how can they deliver? Look at the huge backlog, they haven’t produced any aircraft lately, that’ll take them two or three years to go over that. They got production and quality control issues that they admit, and now after the MAX crisis with the regulator saying ‘we want to have a good look at everything’, that is slowing the whole thing down.”

Then there’s the Airbus A350 issue. Qatar Airways has been having major issues with the A350 fuselage degrading at an accelerated rate, and Emirates is concerned about this. As Clark describes the situation:

“Fact is, it is an issue. I am not unsympathetic to Qatar Airways. We made it absolutely clear in Toulouse now that, if we have the same problem on one of our aircraft, we won’t take them over. Akbar Al Baker told me, not sure if it is true, that there were aircraft that hadn’t been delivered yet, that were also showing signs of that problem. Akbar is a bit like us, he probably learned from us that we will not accept anything but perfection. That’s not unreasonable, isn’t it? Our engineers looked at these A350s and said they are not in a good shape. So we say to Toulouse: By the delivery of the A350, you will have cracked this problem, otherwise, you will face us with no deliveries either.”

Clark is one of the brightest guys in the industry. He has a great pulse on what’s going on, and I think he’s also incredibly reasonable. All of his concerns about Airbus and Boeing seem totally fair to me — these are very real issues. But when both aircraft manufacturers aren’t delivering on their promises, where else is Emirates supposed to turn?

Emirates is concerned about Airbus A350 fuselage issues

Bottom line

It’s not a good time when it comes to future delivery wide body orders, between Boeing 787 production delays, concerns about Airbus A350 fuselages, and the Boeing 777X being delayed by years. Understandably Emirates is frustrated by this, given that these are the three aircraft the airline has on order.

All of Clark’s statements are completely warranted and fair, especially for Boeing, which is having major issues with both of its wide bodies (the A350 issues, meanwhile, seem to be a bit more niche). I’m curious to see how this all plays out.

What do you make of Clark’s frustration with Airbus and Boeing?

Conversations (56)
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  1. Werner Guest

    I am a fan of Airbus, I believe that Emerate is having a false issue with the paint problem. If it would be a problem other airlines would have the same issues!

  2. KM Ali Guest

    True to the reality talk by Tim Clark. A good wake up call for the duopoly. Good opportunity for the COMAC (China) planes to rise. Although they are not making airplanes in the 777X/A350 size/range, but they can enter the 180 seat/3000nm category.

  3. Mohamed Goolbhai Guest

    Why depend on Airbus and Boeng only.Russian and Chinese planes are available.Ask Honda to manufacture
    bigger planes.

    1. Werner Guest

      They are just copies of Airbus & Boeing, I would not trust either, both countries produce bad and copied products!

  4. OSEMENE AZUBUIKE MARK Guest

    It is justified (Tim Clark's frustration) with issues like delays on timelines and defects. Overall, Airbus needs to fix the 350 issues even with Qatar and up their matter Emirates. As for Boeing, a bigger problem with 4years of delays is not good and perhaps a 3rd manufacturer should come in to help the market. Also, Boeing needs to manage the crisis on max and 777X too and get certification after addressing issues raised by...

    It is justified (Tim Clark's frustration) with issues like delays on timelines and defects. Overall, Airbus needs to fix the 350 issues even with Qatar and up their matter Emirates. As for Boeing, a bigger problem with 4years of delays is not good and perhaps a 3rd manufacturer should come in to help the market. Also, Boeing needs to manage the crisis on max and 777X too and get certification after addressing issues raised by the regulators. We all need a safe space.

  5. Julius Mosehla Guest

    The main problem seems to be the COVID which delayed the production of these aircrafts. Also, the challenge being the ending of the A380 production, Emirates is forced to get more aircrafts that can match the capacity that was going to be carried by the new A380 should the production of them had been continued. But let's hope Boeing will come to the party and deliver by 2023 or else Emirates will have serious problems

  6. Ted Lapis Guest

    When any market has fewer than 5 competitors, there is no real competition.

    1. Julius Mosehla Guest

      And this is the time where a new production company could be launched to compete with these two giants of the productions Boeng and Airbus

  7. Stanley Ward Guest

    Put them to work and correct the drawing board it can be be done if they work hard at strating from the inside to the outside ,start your Engineers time is of the essence here .And President and C.E.O.Time Clark I have the best Entree in the travel business for your Luxury clientele It's the World over Fruitcocktail please in box Stanley Ward @wardfruitcocktail @gmail .com for details

  8. jeff slack Guest

    Safety is 'Key' on all grounds of bringing new aircraft into the revenue stream of an airline.

    See 737Max as an example; rushed by Wall Street and a board willing to cut corners and take lives for the sake of delivery and beating Airbus.

    What does Tim do?
    He keeps his mega a380 fleet flying and the 777-300s until such time that the new aircraft is/are 100% reliable and safe.
    Mr Clark needs...

    Safety is 'Key' on all grounds of bringing new aircraft into the revenue stream of an airline.

    See 737Max as an example; rushed by Wall Street and a board willing to cut corners and take lives for the sake of delivery and beating Airbus.

    What does Tim do?
    He keeps his mega a380 fleet flying and the 777-300s until such time that the new aircraft is/are 100% reliable and safe.
    Mr Clark needs to inform Airbus and Boeing that when the new aircraft are ready it is over to the airline to amalgamate them into their fleet at the airline's leisure without penalty; the wait could be years.

    The wait might teach Airbus and Boeing to be a little more circumspect on promises to another corporation's business and bottom line.

    Relax Tim; your fleet currently is still the best in the air.

  9. John Guest

    Emirates is in a unique position to demand better. Their fleet is is Relatively new. Passengers love the A380s, and they have an extensive fleet of Boeing and Airbus Aircraft.
    UAE has a wealth of oil resources, I feel that they have the ability to reject ability to reject undesirable aircraft until Boeing gets their shit together, ( long term) or Airbus fixes paint issues ( more likely.)

  10. JJ Guest

    I'm very enlightened by Time Clark's frank interview. Most CEO's would keep internal problems quiet to be politically correct but he spews out genuine concerns and frustrations. He's taking it to the media to force Boeing and Airbus to do more but with a lack of resource with pandemic and increasing scrutiny from FAA following 737MAX fiasco, how can you make Boeing and Airbus to move faster than turtle speed? Competition in the industry would...

    I'm very enlightened by Time Clark's frank interview. Most CEO's would keep internal problems quiet to be politically correct but he spews out genuine concerns and frustrations. He's taking it to the media to force Boeing and Airbus to do more but with a lack of resource with pandemic and increasing scrutiny from FAA following 737MAX fiasco, how can you make Boeing and Airbus to move faster than turtle speed? Competition in the industry would be good but China and Russia do not have the equal credibility on safety and security as US and EU. This is an industry poised for disruption but needs a serious entrepreneur with a vision and deep, deep pockets.

  11. Leroy Guest

    Clark birthes and moans periodically and a little too frequently. That is his M-O. Nobody much listens anymore.

  12. Zahir Ahamed Guest

    Assalamualaikkum wwb. At rhe time Almighty Allah has decided the aircrafts will be delivered. Meanwhile do not cry like a hungry baby . CRORES OF PEOPLE HAVE NO FOOD. EMIRATES AND QATAR AIRWAYS ARE VERY LUCKY. BE THANKFUL.

  13. Chad Guest

    How can you claim Tim is one of the bright ones when he purchased more a380's than anyone, a product that was clearly the biggest blunder in aviation history? Adding insult to injury he blamed other airlines for not adopting his failed strategy, which ultimately led to the a380 demise. He's a crybaby who needs to take some responsibility.

    1. Mangiafica Guest

      "biggest blunder" tell that to the max victim familes

    2. Eskimo Guest

      Well if he can turn the 'biggest blunder' in aviation history in to a profitable operation, shouldn't he deserve even MORE credit?

  14. Miguel Guest

    If a Japanese competitor arrives it will kill both Boeing and Airbus, just like everything else is unique to have Asian rivals.

    This time most likely from Japan and China and what Emirates does when competitors from China and Japan comes around.

    Mitsubishi are selling a bunch of orders from Emirates.

    Honda is the first Japanese company to outbid Boeing and Airbus for Emirates first orders of their latest planes.

    COMAC had...

    If a Japanese competitor arrives it will kill both Boeing and Airbus, just like everything else is unique to have Asian rivals.

    This time most likely from Japan and China and what Emirates does when competitors from China and Japan comes around.

    Mitsubishi are selling a bunch of orders from Emirates.

    Honda is the first Japanese company to outbid Boeing and Airbus for Emirates first orders of their latest planes.

    COMAC had outbid Boeing and Airbus to order more C919 than A320 Neos and Boeing 737 MAX.

    This will be very harsh to see an Airline from the Gulf area to order more planes from Asian rivals than from Boeing and Airbus.

    Probably the UAE might be improving the Japanese economy by buying Mitsubishi and Honda instead of Boeing and Airbus if this happens.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      @Miguel

      Remind me again how successful was YS-11, a Japanese competitor.

  15. S Raghei Guest

    Simple, just utilise what you have, upgrade, control operation...
    Boeing been stretching aircrafts to the limit and try to save time and money and the 777 the 737 and 747-8 programs reflect that ..
    If they did consider the replacement for the B737 in the nineties and developed the B 787 rather than living in the past they would not have those problems...

  16. Derk Guest

    That's to bad for not just Emirates. Well there is still the A330-900neo. So there is same hope I think

  17. Stephen Guest

    So the Aluminum A330 won't work?

    1. MOHAMMED HOSSAIN Guest

      A380 should bring back in the very near future. It can not be missing from this earth's sky.

  18. Walter Guest

    What they really need are 747-800s. Despite ETOPS I feel much safer on a long overwater flight with four engines.

    1. S Raghei Guest

      No future for 747-8 if check the customers for the type you find its sold politically not commercially read between the lines

  19. Endre Guest

    On airliners net, some claim that EK and QR are cash-strapped and are attempting to delay delivery or lower the price as much as possible. I tend to agree.

  20. Ivan New Member

    Prime time for an electric commercial airplane manufacture to disrupt the industry

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Why not prime time for warp gates, personal flying cars, Hyperloop?

      Sorry but our technology isn't there yet. Your prime time is at least 10-20 years too early.

  21. Mike Guest

    China enters the room

  22. Matt Guest

    Could have ordered more A380, and not let the program die. It is maybe not the most fuel efficient, but it was working!

  23. Alex D. Guest

    They could still have Boing dish out 100 units of 747-8s. They are trial tested and I'm sure they could do some convincing on Boing since Boing's production line still viable

    1. Stanley Ward Guest

      Put them to work and correct the drawing board it can be be done if they work hard at strating from the inside to the outside ,start your Engineers time is of the essence here .And President and C.E.O.Tim Clark I have the best entree in the travel business for your Luxury clientele It's the World over Fruitcocktail please in box Stanley Ward at wardfruitcocktail @gmail .com for details

  24. Sebastian Tombs Guest

    Emirates should just keep the aircraft they have now and or buy ones in that are just sitting out in the California desert

  25. Ntau Zaug Guest

    IF deliveries are up in the air then they should be landing soon. LOL

  26. Sir Daniel Bilbruck Guest

    It is time that Airbus and Boeing gets a spanking. Their problems kill people that only requires safety and expedient flights. Both companies are only interested in profits.

  27. GS in PDX Guest

    Not sure what Sir Clark thinks he can get out of continual threats. (these are not the first) He has no alternatives to replacing the A380 - no other aircraft on the market comes close in seating capacity. Except.... the 777X. And, it is way more fuel efficient, given its two engines.
    Both Boeing and Airbus are having some production / quality issues right now.
    The Ukraine situation could make things more interesting,...

    Not sure what Sir Clark thinks he can get out of continual threats. (these are not the first) He has no alternatives to replacing the A380 - no other aircraft on the market comes close in seating capacity. Except.... the 777X. And, it is way more fuel efficient, given its two engines.
    Both Boeing and Airbus are having some production / quality issues right now.
    The Ukraine situation could make things more interesting, in terms of supply chain for both Boeing and Airbus.

  28. Bagoly Guest

    They could buy up the A380s being retired by other airlines?

  29. Uncle Ron Guest

    If all competitors are in the same boat, then why should he care?

    1. Josh Guest

      They are uniquely dependent on large intercontinental aircraft because of their geographic positioning. No real short to medium range planes are needed for them

    2. Eskimo Guest

      @Uncle Ron does make a fair point but also misses the point.

      While everyone would have been affected by 777X delays. It's the timeline of 'when' to replace old planes that would potentially be a major problem.

      Cost of flying too old is hitting the next heavy maintenance, to that point EK would need to be flying old planes for many more years to breakeven after the maintenance.

  30. Steve Guest

    They wouldn’t have as big of a problem if they hadn’t bought the 380s to start with!

    1. Armchair Expert Guest

      Customers love the A380 and they fill them to capacity in to slot limited airports, and DXB that is at capacity many hours of the day. And you’re saying they should have no A380s. Haha ok m8.

    2. Max Guest

      A380 and it's halo-effect from the over-the-top luxury First Class is literally what enabled Emirates to grow to it's current size.

    3. Mh Diamond

      Or they could have a bigger problem as they would already have A350s with issues, and be waiting on the 777x, so basically out of service... and having to rent A380s from others!

  31. Brian Guest

    One of the things that I really do not like about Gulf Carriers is they feel that they can threaten every aircraft manufacturer the same. Come on man, they are airline customers just like every other airline , and no one is complaining. Quit bitching and actually get back to running an airline.

  32. Frank B Member

    Don't blame me. I voted for Kodos!

  33. Ukraine on the brain Guest

    How long did airbus flounder on the a380 deliveries? 2yrs? 5 yrs? 7yrs?
    I don’t remember but it was a disaster. Bloggers love to hate on Boeing. You can always tell which way they vote based on which manufacturer they side on…

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Let's start with this article, seems it's both Airbus and Boeing?
      But I remember A380 or A350 delay was criticized too, same as QR's paint issue.
      What I don't remember is Airbus planes have battery catching fire or crashes from a software issue.

      Per your name, I really wanted to know do most people consider themselves Ukrainian or Russian?
      If people really are being oppressed by the regime, I feel staging a coup is easier than sending in tanks. But that's just me.

  34. Ghostrider5408 Guest

    Clark could always order Chinese

    1. Eskimo Guest

      From Panda Express or P.F. Chang's?

  35. DP Guest

    Arent they just wanting a discount on all their new planes ? Their buying strategy seems a complete mess anyway, they got into two of these orders by cancelling other planes and unsure they even want them now

  36. Eskimo Guest

    We have the great Airbus Boeing duopoly.

    Thanks to Antonov, Illushin, Sukhoi, Tupolev for being Russian (sorry Antonov, we see it coming).
    Thanks to McDonnell Douglas for their mismanagement.
    Thanks to Lockheed Martin for wanting to sell only weapons.

  37. anon Guest

    wahhhh . wahhhh wahhh

  38. Khatl Gold

    Sometimes you fail to recognize your own genius... lol... "the delivery timeline for just about all Emirates future delivery aircraft is up in the air"

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Khatl Gold

Sometimes you fail to recognize your own genius... lol... "the delivery timeline for just about all Emirates future delivery aircraft is up in the air"

3
Ivan New Member

Prime time for an electric commercial airplane manufacture to disrupt the industry

2
Max Guest

A380 and it's halo-effect from the over-the-top luxury First Class is literally what enabled Emirates to grow to it's current size.

1
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