Is the Boeing 777-9 at risk from anti ME carrier restrictions?

Emirates is cutting its US flights from 126 to 101 weekly in response to selective US bans on passenger electronic devices in its cabins according to the Washington Post.

The question of the day for the US aerospace industry is what the Dubai based carrier might trim next. Emirates is the largest buyer of the forthcoming Boeing 777-X series of higher tech airliners, a design which like the current 777 models, has been largely rejected by American carriers.

The Emirates statement quoted in the report is couched in diplomatic terms, although it is harder edged than this earlier official response to the bans by Doha based Qatar Airways.

Qatar is also a launch customer for the 777-X series, with 60 of them on order beside the 150 ordered by Emirates.

The third Middle East carrier selectively targeted for the commercially damaging curbs on what passengers can carry as hand luggage on flights to the US is Etihad, with 25 of the big Boeings on order.  Etihad hasn’t said much, so far, about the restrictions.

However between them the three ME airlines account for 235 sales out of a total of 306 for the design, which uses a new wing, with folding wing tips.  The 777-X series, due in service from 2020, uses GE engines designed for efficient full load operations out of hub airports where field temperatures can nudge 49C and the ingestion of fine suspended particles of sand poses additional challenges in terms of engine maintenance and reliability.

The balance of orders, from All Nippon, Cathay Pacific and Lufthansa, are from carriers that don’t need engines designed for such use, and the German carrier is on the record as resisting the additional cost required for capabilities that the ME3 consider vital.

Qantas has expressed interest in future ultra long range versions of the 777-X, including for their potential ability to avoid landing at the ME hub at Dubai used by its commercial partner Emirates for flights between Australian and European and UK cities.

The harm apparently deliberately done to the ME3 by the Trump administration has appalled aviation safety authorities world wide, because it means fire prone lithium ion batteries used in small electronic devices are consigned to under floor cargo areas where an outbreak of fire is considered harder to deal with than if it occurred in a cabin.

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