Boeing isn’t to launch the 777X freighter at Dubai Airshow this week. “We are not yet at a point to launch it or announce customers”, sales chief Ihssane Mounir said during a pre-show media event on November 13. No 777X freighter launch in Dubai.
It was expected that Boeing would make the move in Dubai, as its rival Airbus will likely announce first orders for its A350 Freighter is what will become the next battle for the big freighters. But the US airframer apparently isn’t ready yet, most likely because its potential customers aren’t. Boeing has planned five days of meetings and discussions with customers, of which a few with airlines that bought the 777X but are still waiting for their aircraft. The new big twin is delayed until late 2023 as regulators have required the redesign of a number of systems, including electrical actuator systems. Emirates CEO Sir Tim Clark recently complained that he has no idea when his first 777-9 will arrive while having to make huge investments in simulators.
“In terms of the delivery of the aircraft, the discussions we are having with customers are on a multi-faceted front. We’re talking to the regulators on the regulatory side of it, then we talking of the flight test side of it, and then we are talking about the market side of it. When you look at why the aircraft moved to the end of 2023, it’s all these factors together”, said Mounir.
Mounir said the 777-9 has done 1.700 flight hours on some 600 flights and is performing well. The smaller -8, which was delayed in 2019 until further notice, is still on the program. “It’s part of the family but we always looked at it as being the second or third member of the 777X family when it comes to market. Second to the -9 or potentially third, after if we do the freighter.”
Boeing will need the new freighter as new emission rules come into effect from 2027 that actually make an end to the current generation of freighters. Mounir said the ICAO rules are still six years away and “we have plenty of time.” But Boeing is making contingency plans to make sure it will have a freighter in 2027 that meets the rules. “We can seek exemptions to the rule and we are working on that.” Another plan is to re-engine the 767 with new-spec powerplants.
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
Richard is contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He also writes for Airliner World, Aviation News, Piloot & Vliegtuig, and Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.