Emirates Frustrations Over Boeing Grow

Daniel Fowkes
06 Feb 2024
· Aircraft 
· Airlines 
Frustrations toward Boeing by leading customer Emirates are growing, as head Tim Clark says Boeing is on its last chance amid problems.

Emirates has become the latest Boeing customer to express frustrations over the American plane maker’s continued problems.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Emirates executive Sir Tim Clark, typically known for his outspoken nature, said that Emirates will go and inspect Boeing’s production lines.

A move will see critical engineers from the company head to Boeing to better understand what occurs on the floor and how aircraft are produced. This is in response to the door blowout and subsequent quality problems being identified.

However, Emirates isn’t the first airline to do something similar. Alaska Airlines promptly announced they’d send their team to inspect Boeing’s line. This is alongside the FAA launching its investigation into Boeing’s production practices.

Frustrations Grow

Sir Tim Clark has warned that Boeing is on its last chance following persistent quality defects, delays, and other issues impacting customers, including Emirates.

Clark said that Boeing must instil a culture where safety is second to none, and they need not cut corners with their production processes, and he hopes a thorough review will allow for all of these problems to be rectified.

However, sending engineers towards Boeing for the first time in company history highlights a common trend now being seen broadly across the industry. That trend is airlines questioning the plane maker, inspecting planes being produced and exploring other aircraft options.

While analysts believe that it’s simply these companies doing their due diligence to ensure the safety of those that board their aircraft and employees, equally, there’s the belief that this shouldn’t be required of an airline.

Boeing has publicly stated that it will do everything to restore confidence in its customers and knows this will take time.

Emirates & The 777X

Emirates is the largest customer of the upcoming Boeing 777X, and despite recently committing to more units at the backend of 2023, the carrier has publicly expressed its frustrations over delays.

A Boeing 777X aircraft on aerial display at the Dubai Airshow

While some have questioned the motive behind the frustrations, whether to obtain aircraft on the cheap, get improvements in the contract, or simply because they were generally annoyed, the point remains. The airline has experienced lengthy delays in getting these aircraft.

Reports in 2023 indicated that Emirates would see a test 777-9 arrive in Dubai this year for route-proving missions, which will allow Emirates better to prepare itself for a 2025 arrival of the type.

However, with an initially expected 2020 EIS, Emirates will have experienced an over five-year delay by the time it’s flying the aircraft. These delays will thus impact retirement plans, finances, and network growth.

While visible frustrations centre around the 777X, Clark’s latest comments relate directly to concerns around production standards, which is a far deeper-rooted problem that impacts the integrity of the company and the planes being delivered.

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