Emirates has urged Boeing to "take total control" of the production and supply chain of the proposed 777X to avoid the kind of problems that have dogged the 787 programme.
The Dubai carrier has been deeply involved with Boeing on the definition of the new "big twin" and president Tim Clark says Emirates is a likely launch customer. But it does not want to see a repeat of the delays and programme interruptions that have plagued the Dreamliner almost since its roll-out in July 2007.
"It's no good just saying 'we've learnt'. Boeing has had a bitter lesson and they've got to take total control: quality in - quality out," Clark says. "Don't let anybody mess about with the aeroplane. Obviously they have a vendor supply chain, but where they can control it - they must control it."
Last month, Boeing received from its board authority to offer 777X to potential customers. This is the last step before a formal programme launch.
Clark says Emirates is interested in both proposed 777X variants which include the larger 777-9X and the smaller, ultra-long range -8X. "If the commercial terms were right, we could definitely be a launch customer," he says. "We're actively engaged with them."
Both variants will be powered by the General Electric GE9X with the 777-9X the lead variant slated for service entry in 2020. The -8X will follow around nine months later.
"We were concerned about it being underpowered in the early days, and Boeing has now grown the thrust [from under 100,000lb] to around 103k," Clark says.
"We want the -9X to be able t fly routes like Dubai-Los Angeles and Buenos Aires-Dubai with maximum payload - 400-plus passengers and a modicum of freight - around 55t."
Clark says the 777-8X will be "an absolute peach" because it has the qualities of today's 777-200LR but "is bigger with much greater legs. You're talking 330-plus passengers in three classes doing Dubai-Lima."