Emirates will briefly fly the Boeing 777-9 in 2024 as part of a testing period, reported exclusively on Leeham News.
The Dubai-based airline will utilise this period with the aircraft to its advantage by placing the type on route proving flights across its network from Dubai.
While the 777-9 will remain uncertified to fly passengers during its stay at Emirates for testing, it’ll still be a crucial period for the overall testing of the aircraft.
Emirates is currently the largest customer for the 777X series, with commitments stretching over 100 total units, at 115. As such, their relationship with Boeing and the program is essential.
Throughout the years, that relationship has appeared to be fractured as frustrations grew at Emirates following consistent delays to the 777X’s entry into service date, which continued to slip. Boeing initially forecasted a 2020 entry into service, now at 2025. A considerable delay has hurt Emirates’ future fleet plans, and no doubt caused a re-jig of their plans.
The 777X, however, isn’t the only aircraft incurring certification delays. Boeing is also scrambling to certify their 737-7 and 737-10. Meanwhile, Airbus has seen a delay to their A321XLR’s entry into service by a year, similar to their upcoming A350F.
Aircraft manufacturers are seeing a significant amount of scrutiny put on new aircraft as a finer microscope is placed on the certification process following events with the 737 MAX program in the past decade.
Away from the testing period in 2024, Emirates is currently seeking another reported order for widebody planes. While the 777X has faced a drought regarding orders, you’d expect Boeing will put its 777X as a contender for this new widebody deal.