Emirates has again admitted that it is negotiating with Boeing to exchange orders for the new widebody 777X for the smaller 787. In an interview with Bloomberg last week, Adel Al Redha, the carrier’s COO, confirmed that it is looking to replace part of the 115 jets ordered by the Dreamliner aircraft.
According to Al Redha, negotiations are underway, including the schedule of the planes, but he did not give details about the number of 777Xs that can be exchanged. “I think Boeing would prefer to deliver the 777s before 787 because that is a new program for them,” Al Redha said.
It will be the second reduction in Emirates’ order which at the end of 2019 cut 35 units of the 777X from an original order for 150 planes. Boeing has so far 309 firm orders for the largest twin-engine passenger plane in history.
Since the beginning of the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, 777X customers have hinted that they can postpone, cancel or change their orders, as was the case with Cathay Pacific, which has an agreement for 21 widebodies.
Due to its network of long-range flights, Emirates has been severely affected by restrictions imposed on international air traffic by countries fearful of the proliferation of the virus.
The airline plans to expand its network of destinations to 80 cities in September, but it is far from around 500 daily pre-pandemic flights. With its hub in Dubai, Emirates used its A380 and 777 fleet to connect various parts of the world.
However, flight occupancy to date has been very low, at just over 40%. The company has used the 777 on most flights, but since July it has returned to fly the A380 to some cities.
In addition to the order for 115 Boeing 777X, Emirates also has an order for 30 787 and 50 Airbus A350 that will start deliver in 2023. The carrier is also trying to cancel the delivery of eight new A380 with Airbus.