On December 13, 2018, Emirates announced it has taken delivery of the final long-range Boeing 777-300ER aircraft on its order books, marking this the 190th B777 to be delivered to the airline. The announcement comes just over a week after Emirates posted an image of a “blinged out” 777 on social media, sparking a media frenzy. Seems the Dubai-based carrier is keen on showing off its Boeing fleet, whether with “bling” or without.

The new 777-300ER (registered A6-EQP) is the 190th Boeing 777 family aircraft to be delivered to Emirates, as well as the 146th delivery of the 777-300ER for the carrier, the company states. In fact, Emirates is the world’s largest operator of the model: it has operated one out of every five -300ERs produced to date, the carrier says.

Emirates love story with the Boeing 777

Emirates placed it first order for a 777-300ER (ER for “Extended Range”) back in 2004, and received first delivery of the jetliner in 2006, according to Boeing. As of November 30, the airline has so far received 133 total of the 777 family aircraft in 2018; out of these, 114 were the -300ERs, Boeing orders and deliveries book shows; six orders for this airliner are unfilled.

Over the years, as the company states, the 777-300ER has become “the backbone of Emirates’ fleet”. There are 140 of the -300ERs currently in its fleet, which also includes Airbus aircraft. The 777-300ER operates to over 119 destinations across the airline’s global network.




So why is this most recent -300ER the ”last” one for Emirates? Perhaps it has something to do with the 150 orders the company has placed for the new 777X family of aircraft.

The carrier says it will fly both of the next generation models, the 777-8 and the 777-9. Let us compare: the -300ER is capable of flying up to 7,370 nautical miles (13,649 km) with 396 in typical seating; meanwhile, the new -8 has a way longer range, that of 8,700 nmi (16,110 km), but up to 375 seats; the -9, on the other hand, can cover less, only 7,600 nmi (14,075 km), but has 425 seats maximum.

Although the “final” -300ER is to join the fleet, Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates, says the plane “will continue to play an integral role” in the airline’s operations. “We’ve worked closely with Boeing on the 777 programme over the last three decades, and we will build on this partnership as we start taking delivery of the 777-8 and 777-9 aircraft from 2020,” he concludes.

So what is actually going on with Emirates 777 fleet?

Emirates boasts it is “the only airline in the world” to have operated all of the six variants of the Boeing 777 family (777-200, 777-200ER, 777-200LR, 777-300, 777-300ER, 777F). Perhaps it has, assuming conversions, but Boeing’s orders and deliveries log indicates that the airline has ordered and received deliveries of only four of the family members: the 777-200, the 777-200ER, 777-200LR and the 777-300ER.

And when it comes to the 190th Boeing 777 ever delivered, as the airline highlights, that is surely not to say that Emirates operates them all. The number consists of 27 “historic” (stored or leased) aircraft, with the 163 777s it currently operates (140 of 777-300 variant and 23 of the 777-200 version), according to Planespotters.net data.

Interestingly, looking back at Boeing’s books, the aforementioned -200LR model has received only 10 orders from Emirates in light of the 120 for the -300ER; the -200ER has even less - a total of six orders. The -200LR, for example, has a maximum range close to the Emirates desired next-gen 777-8 (8,555 nmi, or 15,843 km), which is way less than the -300ER. But the -200LR’s main flaw: only 317 seats in typical cabin configuration.

The tendency to boast: here comes the bling for the 777

And now, the fun part: Emirates’ pride and joy recently caught headlines when on December 4, the airline posted on its official Twitter account an image of a gem-encrusted 777: "Presenting the Emirates 'bling' 777," the post read. And even though it indicated the image was "created" and therefore an artwork, produced by Sara Shakeel, it soon went viral. A large amount of viewers assumed the plane had indeed been entirely embellished with jewels, while others were left in doubt, considering the soundness of the post.Emirates received (no, not another Boeing delivery) some major backlash from online users regarding the airline’s policy and safety, and was blamed for ostentatious attention-seeking.