Emirates could swap Boeing 777X jets for smaller Dreamliners, chairman says
DUBAI (Reuters) Emirates could swap part of their order for 126 Boeing 777X jets for smaller 787 Dreamliners to review future fleet requirements, the chairman said Monday.
The airline is currently in talks with the U.S. aircraft maker about its fleet aircraft, a review from the coronavirus pandemic that has devastated the travel industry.
When asked if the airline could swap their orders for fewer 777X jets and more Dreamliners, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum told reporters, "It's always an option."
"We are currently evaluating our fleet requirements."
Emirates, the world's largest long-haul airline before the pandemic, recently expressed its frustration with Boeing over the 777X program, which is three years behind schedule, and urged the aircraft manufacturer to provide more details about the jet in production.
Sheikh Ahmed said the delays have been "harsh" for Boeing, emerging from its worst crisis following fatal crashes of 737 MAX jets and a 20-month safety ban that has since been lifted.
Emirates reduced its order for 150 777X to 126 jets under a contract that saw the airline order 30 Dreamliners in 2019.
Sheikh Ahmed, who has headed Emirates since its inception in 1985, didn't say when the airline would make a decision on the future fleet.
The airline will announce its annual results for the year ended March 31st.
Sheikh Ahmed said it had been a very difficult year with the airline carrying around 30% of the 56.2 million passengers it had carried the previous year without giving any further details.
He said he was optimistic about the upcoming summer travel season despite the airline reviewing its cash reserves monthly due to the deterioration in demand caused by the pandemic.
"A lot of people (who) have stopped traveling in the past year and a half ... want to travel."
However, Sheikh Ahmed suggested that the airline take a conservative approach to restoring capacity, telling reporters that Emirates would only operate flights that are economically viable.
"We don't just open a route for the purpose of opening it or just for promotional reasons."
(Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Jason Neely and Steve Orlofsky)
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