Emirates Airline slimmed down its purchasing plans with Boeing amid delays in delivering an order of 156 of the new long-range 777X aircraft, substituting instead 30 of its 787-9 Dreamliners. The Middle East's largest airline in 2017 signed an initial agreement to buy 40 Boeing 787-10s in a deal worth USD 15.1 billion, but the overhaul reduces that to 30. At the same time, Emirates is cutting its 156-strong order of the larger 777X to 126 planes. The restructuring means that the carrier now has just 156 aircraft ordered from Boeing, compared to 196 previously in both firm orders and initial agreements, an airline spokeswoman confirmed to AFP. "Emirates reduced its 777X order of 156 to 126 and substituted them with the Dreamliners," Emirates president Tim Clark told a news conference at the Dubai Airshow.
Boeing said the airline will update its order book "by exercising substitution rights and converting 30 777 aeroplanes into 30 787-9s". Emirates said in a statement that for the 777X, it "will enter into discussions with Boeing over the next few weeks on the status of deliveries". Emirates in 2013 signed a USD 76-billion contract for 150 Boeing 777X twin-engine aircraft, powered by GE's new GE9X engine, in what was the single largest order by value in the history of US commercial aviation. The order was subsequently increased to 156 planes.
The 777X was originally scheduled to take off on its first test flight this summer, however, its development has been slowed by issues with the engine and Boeing has pushed back the timeframe to early 2021. The delays also hit as Boeing is in the process of completing changes required by regulators on the 737 MAX, which has been grounded worldwide after two crashes that resulted in 346 deaths.