Emirates airline announced the delay of the delivery of its first Boeing 777X aircraft. The airline expects to add the jet only in 2023, three years later than originally anticipated.
Initially, the first Boeing 777X was expected to be delivered to Emirates by summer 2020 and was supposed to introduce Premium Economy Cabin, the newest product of the airline. However, the air carrier was forced to change its plans as the 777X remains in development.
The airline initially ordered 150 Boeing 777X aircraft for its non-stop long-haul operations in 2013. The order, which included 35 Boeing 777-8 and 115 Boeing 777-9 jets, worth a total of $83 billion, became the largest single aircraft order by cost in commercial aviation history at the time.
However, in 2019, Emirates slightly reduced the original order by replacing 30 of the 777Xs with the same amount of 30 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, worth $8.8 billion at list prices.
The development timeline of the Boeing 777X has since also gone off-trail. The widebody was supposed to take off to the skies around the time of the Paris Air Show in 2019 and be delivered to Emirates as soon as summer 2020. However, the first delivery date was postponed after the aircraft certification program ran into delays.
On June 17, 2019, GE Aviation, an American engine supplier, announced that it had found an issue with a stator vane in the second stage of the high-pressure compressor of the GE9X engine, which was set to power the Boeing 777X.
The problem with the engine component was not the only issue with the jet. During the 777X load tests, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which was certifying the plane, found another issue with the aircraft cargo door as, during the testing to a static frame, it blew wide open.
Due to the issues found in testing, GE Aviation was forced to redesign the component of the GE9X engine while Boeing had to make other changes to the aircraft design, delaying the maiden flight and the whole certification process.
In September 2019, Tim Clark, the President of Emirates airline, already expressed doubts about on-time delivery of the airline’s first Boeing 777X. Unable to debut Emirates’ new Premium Economy Cabin on the 777X, the air carrier chose a newly delivered Airbus A380 wide-body to introduce its new signature feature on December 28, 2020.