Emirates talks to Boeing about 777 successor and hints at more big orders

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Emirates is continuing dialogue with Boeing about its plans to develop a 777 replacement, as the airline hints that more big twinjet orders could be in the offing.

The Dubai carrier’s all-widebody fleet totals more than 140 aircraft, with a further 168 on order. Its backlog comprises 18 777-300ERs, which make the balance of its orders and leases for 71 aircraft, as well as 70 A350 XWBs (50 -900s/20 -1000s) and 80 A380s.

A rollover will begin in February 2011 when Emirates starts phasing out 68 older widebodies – A330-200s, A340-300/500s and 777 “Classics”.

 
 

Emirates Airline president Tim Clark says that the new A380 deal has no impact on its current orders for smaller widebodies, adding: “There’s plenty more out there, I can tell you.”

This has fuelled speculation that more large-twinjet orders are being discussed, and industry sources indicate that Emirates may be negotiating a big Boeing deal for Farnborough.

Phase-out of the airline’s 777-300ERs begins in 2017, and while its A350-1000s are potential replacements, Clark confirms solutions from Seattle are in the mix.
“We’ve told Boeing we need to look at something that has the legs, the lift and economics of today’s -300ER but with the A350-1000’s predicted fuel burn.”

Clark concedes there is no guarantee Boeing will decide to develop such a new big twin, but says that “if they do it somewhere between 2017 and 2020” the airline would consider it, “otherwise we’ll have to think again about the -300ER replacement”.

The airline aborted a planned deal for 30 A330-300s and 30 more A350-1000s announced in July 2008 at the time of its first A380 delivery.

Although Clark revealed last year that he was considering reviving the transaction, that may no longer be the case because of the new A380 contract.

Airline profile: Emirates