Emirates, Expansion & 777X

Image Courtesy Of Emirates

Emirates operates to around 140 destinations on six different continents.

In the last couple of years, the extreme range and mission versatile capable 777 fleet has allowed the carrier to expand aggressively in North and South America.

The airline has a target to top 200 destinations by the time its first 777-9X lands in the summer of 2019 in Dubai.

Emirates’ growing A380 fleet has presented a groundswell of problems for the airline. The wing rib feet cracking has led to additional weight across the wings. The wing metal fatigue has also led to more weight being added for reinforcement, but has also driven up maintenance and inspection costs – costs which Emirates is loath to want to pay in its pursuit to cap operating costs and the replacement doors for every single one of its A380s due to seal problems has further added weight.

With a further 92 Airbus A380s to induct, the first fifty will be jettisoned by around 2025.

Emirates continues to leverage the strength of the high sticker price with sale and leaseback deals on the A380, shielding it from the true asset value decline as each is delivered owing in large part to the fact that demand for the type is shockingly lethargic.

The airline is looking at up to another 200 more Boeing 777s – this is on top of the 150+50 777Xs that it has on order.

The initial 777X jets will replace the entire 777-300ER fleet. The 777-8X fleet will provide long range city pair capability while further 777-300ERs (options) look key to augmenting growth before the 777-9X can be delivered post-2020 in significant numbers.

The additional (up to) 200 777Xs would provide significant growth and cover for the cancelled 70 A350s which are proving hideously overweight, despite a mundane flight test program thus far, as well as give Emirates a more frequency based operation as it weighs up the serious possibility of uprooting its entire business from the downtown Dubai International Airport over to the 250m-passenger-capable Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central, where the prime slots have already been reserved.

With no new engines available for the outdated A380, Emirates has no choice but to move with the times and induct more fuel efficient widebodies to rein in fuel costs.

Evaluation of the 747-8I and 787-10 is still ongoing.

Without wanting to reveal any proprietary content, to say that Emirates is “pissed” with Airbus is an understatement. The crippling of the A350 performance was a key factor in the order being nixed and the A380 fleet is proving to be troublesome with robustness as their age increases. It should be noted that Emirates has next to no trouble with its handful of early build 777-200s, 777-200ERs or 777-300s.

Indeed, these are paid up assets that have proven to be huge money-spinners.

Emirates’ guiding hand in developing the 777X family is no accident.

Nor then, is it a surprise that they want so many more of them to re-fleet their entire operational portfolio.

2 Replies to “Emirates, Expansion & 777X”

  1. It would be good news if the 787-10 would replace the vacuum created by the demise of the A350 order. It sounds like there is so much demand at Emirates that they could do that and still find a spot for the 747-8i simply because Boeing can crank them out even as additional 777-300’s are supplied while the 777x is gearing up. Meanwhile, other airlines have simply got to be queuing up with their checkbooks before all early 777x slots are taken. Well, except for Delta who seem to be making plenty of money (for now) buying other aircraft from Brand-X.