Dubai’s Emirates postpones premium economy launch due to 777x delay

Emirates is the launch customer for the plane, with 150 orders

Emirates president Tim Clark doubts the world’s biggest long-haul airline will receive Boeing’s 777x jetliner on time, causing a delay in the launch of its premium economy class.

When asked at a Dubai media briefing on Sunday about the planes being delivered on time in June 2020, Clark replied: “I would strongly suggest that it won’t.”

Boeing has pushed back the first flight of its 777X to 2020, saying deliveries may be delayed amid problems with its General Electric Co.-made turbines. Emirates is the launch customer for the plane, with 150 orders.

“We still have not had sight on a resolution on that,” Clark said. “So if you ask me when, how, and what, I can’t tell you because I don’t know.”

Airbus A380

A refreshed premium economy will be rolled out on the company’s Airbus SE’s A380 planes in December 2020.

The looming demise of the Airbus superjumbo means Emirates no longer needs a mega-airport, according to Clark. The aviation veteran said the company was set to operate up to 200 of the double-decker planes. But after Airbus “pulled the rug” on the program, the needs of the airline have changed.

“Without them there, the airport design changes completely,” Clark said.

Work on Dubai’s Al Maktoum airport, envisioned as one of the world’s biggest with an annual capacity of more than 250 million passengers, has been put on hold as Gulf Arab economies falter, Bloomberg reported earlier this month.

Clark also said:

* First-half results are better than last year’s and better than the airline expected

* Emirates will continue expanding its relationship with flydubai through “integrating network and making more intelligent use of the assets”

* State-owned carrier receives “huge” number of inquiries from European countries to extend services to the US.