Emirates is closing on a deal to be a launch customer for Boeing’s 777X but still has “a lot of work to do” around the commercial negotiations, says the airline’s president Tim Clark.
“We spent the summer working through the technical side of the aeroplane and from what I can see it looks very good. We will now look at the pricing and commercial aspects. So far so good, but there’s still a lot of work to do,” he says.
Clark says Emirates has only recently been given definitive pricing information on the twinjet, and that the timing of any contract with Boeing will be “when it suit us – it may be the Dubai air show [in November], but if we’re not ready we won’t be doing it”.
Clark says that the 777X’s General Electric GE9X powerplant is fundamental to the new programme achieving Boeing’s performance and economics claims. “The engine is key to all of this. I’ve told GE that if they don’t deliver the ceramic CMC engines there will be issues,” he says.
To meet Emirates’ performance needs, the 777X’s GE9X will need a water-injection system to ensure that the aircraft can operate comfortably year-round from Dubai on all its required missions. “Unlike earlier demineralised water-injection systems such as on the BAC One-Eleven, this one is all about coolant – very high temperatures at high work rates,” says Clark.
“It makes a very material difference to our operating capabilities in the hot months in Dubai. Without that, the 777-9X doesn’t do that much better in those conditions than the -300ER does today.”