Emirates president says Boeing 777x entry into service could postpone to 2023 or even longer

DUBAI (Reuters) – Emirates airline president Tim Clark on Wednesday said Boeing Co’s 777X may not enter service with airlines until 2023 or even later, due to uncertainty over the timing of the development of the largest. Boeing’s twin-engine jet and when it will be certified.

Boeing has developed the widebody jet, a new version of its popular 777 aircraft, with the aim of releasing it in 2022, already two years later than expected.

The 777X will be the first large jet to be certified as software flaws in two Boeing 737 MAXs have resulted in fatal crashes and have resulted in allegations of friendly relations between the airline and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

“It is a question of when the aircraft will be completed, certified and offered for entry into service. It could be ’22, it could be ’23, it could be even longer, “Clark told Reuters in an interview.

“So we’ll wait and see what Boeing does about it and consider how they fit into the fleet at that particular time.”

Boeing could not be reached immediately for comment.

Clark said he expected regulators to place the new jet under a higher level of scrutiny following the MAX crisis and Boeing Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith warned that market entry would be affected by regulators’ requirements. .

But Clark doubted that this would add significantly to the existing delays.

“This is essentially a modern 777, which obviously is a workhorse for international travel and was an excellent and absolutely reliable piece of Boeing design, so I don’t see why the 777X should be any different,” said Clark.

European regulators specifically said they will subject the 777X to an additional check after fatal accidents resulted in the 737 MAX being grounded for 20 months.

The MAX incidents in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people within five months in 2018 and 2019 and triggered multiple investigations and weakened U.S. influence on global aviation.

Emirates originally ordered 150 of the 777X series, which can accommodate up to 406 people, and now has 126 ordered. Analysts say the COVID-19 crisis has clouded the demand for such large jets.

The aircraft was initially supposed to enter service with Emirates in June 2020.

Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Chris Reese and Aurora Ellis