Boeing to debut long-awaited 777X at Dubai Airshow

International debut of the new widebody at Emirates' home base comes amid airline's ire at jet programme delays

Boeing will showcase its 777X widebody at the Dubai Airshow this month, marking the jet's international debut, where the aviation industry will convene at the first global airshow in about two years as it starts to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

A 777-9 flight-test aircraft will take to the skies at the Dubai Airshow's flying programme and will also be showcased at the static display on its runway, Boeing said.

"Boeing is excited to participate fully in the Dubai Airshow, the first global airshow in almost two years, and to be able to engage directly with customers, partners, suppliers and other stakeholders from the region and beyond," Kuljit Ghata-Aura, president of Boeing Middle East, Turkey and Africa, said.

"The show is a perfect opportunity to come together and remind the world of the importance of our industry and discuss technology and innovations that are critical to advance a more sustainable aerospace industry over the long term."

Boeing's move to display the 777X in Emirates' backyard in Dubai comes amid the airline's growing ire at the aircraft's delay.

Emirates, the launch customer for the 777X, admonished Boeing for continued delays in the jet's programme, which is disrupting the airline's "meticulous" fleet plans that stretch well into 2038, Emirates' president Sir Tim Clark said in Boston last month. Mr Clark said at the time he did not know when the delivery date of the first 777-9 would be, nor if the smaller 777-8 variant of the twin-engine jumbo jet would be built.

The aircraft's debut is three years behind schedule. Boeing had originally planned to deliver the 777X in June 2020, but is now aiming for the end of 2023.

Emirates will hold discussions with the Chicago-based plane maker "before and during" the airshow over its 777X wide-body aircraft, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates airline and group, said earlier this week.

The airline has complained about the jet's delays as it plans to replace 777 aircraft in its all-wide-body fleet with the newer 777X.

Emirates is considering exchanging some of its 777X jets on order for smaller 787 Dreamliners amid delays in the new aircraft’s debut, Sheikh Ahmed said in May.

Building on its 777 and 787 families, the 777-9 will be the world’s largest and most efficient twin-engine jet, delivering 10 per cent better fuel use, emissions and operating costs compared to its competitors, according to Boeing.

Boeing plans to also showcase its portfolio of commercial, defence and services products at the Dubai Airshow scheduled for November 14 to 18.

The biennial airshow is the first major aerospace exhibition in two years since Covid-19 forced organisers to cancel the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget in 2021 and Britain’s Farnborough International Airshow in 2020.

The Dubai Airshow has been a platform for airlines and plane manufacturers to announce record-breaking business deals worth billions of dollars in past editions.

This year's event will feature 1,200 exhibitors, of which 371 are new and 80 are start-ups, according to event organiser Tarsus.

Updated: November 10th 2021, 5:29 AM
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