Emirates in talks with Airbus for quicker A350 delivery amid 777X jet delays

Airline aims to receive up to two A350 planes a month from summer of 2024

Tim Clark, president of Emirates, said the airline is due to meet Boeing next week to seek more clarity on the 777X delivery timeline. AP
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Emirates is in discussions with Airbus to take delivery of its A350 wide-body aircraft at a faster pace amid continuing delays with Boeing's 777X programme.

The airline will seek up to two jets a month, with the first deliveries starting in the summer of 2024, Tim Clark, Emirates' president, said at a media round-table in Doha on Monday.

"We're talking to Airbus about compressing the delivery scale, so we will probably get up to two a month, we've got 50 coming so we're trying to get the whole lot done in two years to pick up this big capacity," he told the International Air Transport Association’s annual general meeting.

The airline had placed an order for 50 of the A350-900 XWB aircraft worth $16 billion at list prices at the Dubai Airshow in 2019. Delivery was planned to start in May 2023 and run until 2028.

Mr Clark blamed the delay on supply chain issues with the seats, galleys and TVs.

"Given what was going on and the difficulties Airbus was finding themselves in with regards to getting the aircraft out of the door, it was probably a wise thing to do to push them to that point," Mr Clark said.

The airline veteran said Emirates has a tentative delivery date of July 2025 to receive the first of its long-delayed 777X wide-body jets, with new wings and engines.

The 777X, of which the 777-8 and 777-9 are variants, has been in development since 2013 and was expected to be released for airline use in June 2020.

Mr Clark said the General Electric engines are yet to be subject to scrutiny by Emirates, let alone the flight test programme.


Boeing 777X at Dubai Airshow


Emirates is due to meet Boeing in Dubai next week to seek more clarity on the delivery timeline and programme.

"We are engaged with Boeing, they are here, we have them in Dubai next week with a view to meeting that timeline," Mr Clark said.

“Beyond that if it doesn’t get there, it’ll have serious repercussions."

Emirates is the largest operator of the A380 superjumbo, which it planned to replace with the smaller 777X after Airbus cancelled the A380 programme more than three years ago.

The airline is undertaking a refurbishment of its existing 777s and A380s and phasing them out later than planned to cope with the delayed delivery of its new aircraft.

Updated: June 21, 2022, 5:29 AM