Is The Boeing 777X About To Be Delayed

Daniel Fowkes
04 May 2024
· Aircraft 
· Airlines 
A Boeing 777-9 and Boeing 777-8 flying, both aircraft are part of the 777X family

In another blow to Boeing’s upcoming 777X, Lufthansa CEO Jens Ritter, speaking with reporters and as broken by Aviation Week, has provided updates on the EIS and delivery.

Previously scheduled for 2025 after a five-year delay, Boeing had been forecasting certification as early as next year, with deliveries towards the latter stages.

Ritter says that the first delivery of the 777-9 will likely be pushed back towards 2026, which would represent another delay. However, his adjusted forecast comes precisely two months after Carsten Sphor, the Lufthansa Group CEO, said he expects Boeing to still deliver the first 777-9 in 2025.

If all goes according to Lufthansa’s revised forecasting, the 777X should be operational in the schedule by the summer of 2026, at the earliest. The last comment is a cautionary tale that predicting when a new aircraft will enter service has become increasingly more difficult since the 737 MAX crisis in the latter stages of the 2010s that redefined how jets were approved.

Concerns about obtaining certification in 2025 have been spurred following Boeing’s door blowout incident at the beginning of the year.

Following this incident, Boeing faced increased scrutiny from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which led to slow production rates and the certification of upcoming jets such as the 737-10 being put on hold once more.

Boeing is still forecasting a 2025 certification followed by deliveries in the same year. For the 777-8F, the newly launched freighter variant, Boeing expects a 2027 approval and delivery. However, ultimately, the manufacturer is also aware that formal approval and delivery will rest on the shoulders of the FAA and when they believe the jet can be cleared.

Emirates Predicts Delays

Delays surrounding the Boeing 777X are not uncommon. The aircraft was initially slated to enter service in 2020. Following several pushbacks, 2025 was quoted as the revised and final delay to the program.

However, Emirates President Tim Clark hasn’t been afraid to speak his mind several times and has said he expects delays in 2024 alone. When speaking with the UK Aviation Club, a 2026 delivery was quoted as happening if all parties were unlucky. However, this forecast becomes more likely by the day.

Therefore, new comments from Lufthansa’s CEO surrounding a 2026 delivery and EIS confirm what Emirates has been predicting for some time.

Emirates was expected to take on a Boeing 777X jet in 2024 for route-proving flights, as confirmed in 2023; however, talk on this has slowed since the turn of the year. Many argued that such a deal was Boeing compensating Emirates for the persistent delays.

Emirates’ relationship with the Boeing 777X has been turbulent since the first order, with executives becoming increasingly frustrated with the delivery delays.

The Dubai-based carrier has been the most vocal about the impact of the 777X delays and the frustrations. On several occasions, Clark has signified he would rethink the 777X order and potentially take his business elsewhere for a more proven jet that wouldn’t encounter as many delays.

However, these frustrations and public criticism likely led to a hefty discount when, towards the latter stages of 2023, Emirates went back for more 777X jets. The top-up order cemented Emirates’ commitment to the upcoming widebody and its title as the largest customer.

The Impact On Customers

Ultimately, for customers of the Boeing 777X, the delays can have several different impacts on the business.

Firstly, airlines expecting the 777X and facing subsequent delays are more often than not forced to retain ageing and less efficient aircraft. In the case of Lufthansa, they returned the Airbus A380 to service and retained A340s and 747s to mitigate the losses felt from the 777X delay. However, broader supply chain issues impacting Airbus jets have also spurred a decision to keep these aircraft.

Because of delays in acquiring next-generation aircraft from Airbus and Boeing, Lufthansa has been forced to retain aircraft types such as the A380, which is less efficient but can mitigate losses – Photo: Lasse Fuss

Meanwhile, negative ramifications are also felt across the network. For some companies, adding the Boeing 777X may have been viewed as a means to boost capacity or start new routes. Additionally, it could be viewed as a means to relieve pressure on existing aircraft for deployment elsewhere.

Finally, the persistent delayed delivery has a financial impact, among many other day-to-day business implications. While these companies will seek compensation for the losses directly from the manufacturer, delivering the aircraft on time would be widely regarded as more appreciated.

Leave a Reply

Recent Posts

Sign Up

Stay updated with the latest developments in the aviation and aerospace sector

Share this post: