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Emirates and the rest test Boeing’s 777 X factors

The proposed 777-9: Boeing graphic

The intensity of negotiations between Emirates and Boeing as to what the 777-X series will be is reaching new heights in the global media.

Today it’s  Emirates turning the screws on Boeing, in this Bloomberg story.

But recently it was Boeing hyping the massive orders it expects to be announced at the Dubai Air Show, which runs from 17-21 November at the new Dubai World Central airport.

There are several things that can be dispassionately said about this fascinating situation.

  • One is the that the  777-X series will be huge, and it will be successful, and
  • It will strongly influence Airbus in its development of the A350 and A380 lines, but not necessarily immediately.

The trickier issues involve the extent to which a 777-X series airliner optimised to win a massive order from Emirates will produce an airliner that satisfies the requirements of other customers, and when it will actually and reliably enter service.

Emirates has already said it now expects the 777-X to enter service late in 2020 or 2021, although Boeing usually talks about 2019. The all new Airbus A350 XWB line which is already undergoing test and certification flights, is likely to start service around September next year, with a larger version coming on line in 2017.

And Emirates is a big customer for the A350 as well. And the A350 can be further stretched to be close to the capacity of the proposed 777-9X model.  And Emirates has also expressed yet again a long standing desire for an even larger A380 than the version it now flies.

All of which has lead to tensions in the other-airlines-of-the-world camp over the Emiratesization of everything they are likely to buy for the foreseeable future.

Meanwhile back in the your-testicles-in-the-meat-grinder genre of media signalling, the president of Emirates Tim Clark says in the Bloomberg report:

You’re looking at high numbers,” Clark said in an interview yesterday at the Arab Air Carriers Organization meeting in Doha, Qatar. “That’s why it’s so important to us even at this very late stage that we get it absolutely right.”

Clark said Boeing is “not quite there yet” and still has “work to do” on the 777X before he commits to unveil a deal as early as the Dubai Air Show in 10 days.

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  • 1
    Dan Dair
    Posted November 8, 2013 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    And this is why I read these pages;
    You do all the reading so that I don’t have to trawl through all this ‘he said, she said’ negotiation by media b@11@cks.
    Thanks very much for that Ben.

    This precis, like the one on Boeing from Oct 31, 2013 4:15PM, shows a failure of the general media to actually report news as opposed to rehashing press-statements.
    But is informative at least in as far as it shows that this isn’t yet the done-deal Boeing would like us (& their shareholders) to believe.

  • 2
    777 Steve
    Posted November 8, 2013 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    Me doth think that TC speaks with a forked tongue, I’d be pretty confident that the deal has already been done, its just the media theatrics that need to be played out at the Dubai airshow which will generate column inches for EK and Seattle.
    On the subject of the X being too EK mission specific, well I say cobblers, many of the EK missions in the present 777 encompass 6-10 hour flights, just like BA, LH, CX et al, what the comments from the sideline really say to me is that the other customers are probably feeling as if they have had a lot less input into the design process. If I was in Boeings shoes and I had a customer that would all but guarantee a derivative airframes success, Id probably take about 4 or 5 micro-seconds before agreeing to the EK Spec.

  • 3
    derrida derider
    Posted November 11, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    In the bigger picture it’s becoming clear that the bets made by Boeing and Airbus in the 1990s have been won by Boeing, though not quite for the reasons Boeing thought.

    Boeing focused on large twins assuming that people would want to do a lot of direct long range flights – range mattered, capacity per plane less so. Aibus thought it would be all hub-and-spoke with overcrowded hubs – hence the A380, to be helped by a range of smaller twins.

    But it turns out you can make a twin big enough to meet the capacity requirements for hub airports while retaining the economy of a twin over those extra long ranges – you get the best of both worlds. If Boeing hadn’t made such a complete mess of the Dreamliner (allowing Airbus time to build its own extra big twin) it would have the competition in real trouble now.

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