Emirates Not Expecting 777X Certification Before 2025

By Spyros Georgilidakis | May 7, 2024

Boeing hopes to get the certification of its 777X late in 2024, but the chairman of Emirates now says that he expects more delays to come.

Boeing’s 737 and 787 programs have been getting most of the attention in the news, but the even bigger 777X faces its own challenges. Originally, Boeing hoped the aircraft would get its certification in early 2020 or even late 2019.

Emirates Not Expecting 777X Certification Before 2025
Photo: Boeing

A lot of early delays, with both engine and airframe issues, pushed the 777X certification date to 2021 and 2022, to the frustration of Emirates. The Gulf airline will be the first to take delivery of the new aircraft.

In 2022, after years without posting any official updates, Boeing pushed back the aircraft’s certification date to 2024. This was mainly because the company was switching a lot of engineers and resources to the 737 MAX-7 and MAX-10. The 787 was also grounded back then.

Photo: Dan Nevill, CC BY 2.0

At the time, the 777X still didn’t have its Time Inspection Authorization (TIA), i.e. the approval to start certification flights with FAA pilots. Therefore, the delay was far from surprising. Boeing later resumed more intense work on the new widebody.

Emirates and other 777X customers still expected the aircraft to get its certification late in 2024, with service entry due in early 2025. But now, Emirates Group founder, chairman, and CEO Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum says that he isn’t expecting 777X certification to come before Q1 of 2025.

Emirates Not Expecting 777X Certification Before 2025
Image: Emirates

777X Certification and Emirates, Lufthansa Deliveries

Given other Boeing issues, this isn’t surprising, and may even seem optimistic to some. Last week, Lufthansa CEO Jens Ritter told Aviation Week that the airline doesn’t expect its 777X deliveries to start before 2026. Emirates President Tim Clark has also said that its deliveries could slip to 2026, too.

Emirates Not Expecting 777X Certification Before 2025
Image: Boeing

Lufthansa was the original launch customer for the 777X. Emirates became the “de-facto” launch customer later, thanks to orders for nearly ten times as many aircraft. But Emirates really needs the 777X to get its certification and deliveries to start as soon as possible.

The airline relies on a fleet of Airbus A380s and Boeing 777-300ERs. Emirates depends on the “Hub and Spoke” model, with Dubai airport being its only hub. It needs enormous aircraft, to make this model work. Like Lufthansa, it plans to keep older types in service for longer, to maintain its route schedule.

Photo (cropped): Dan Nevill, CC BY 2.0

From launch to certification, the 777X could take as many as 12 years, with the first delivery to Emirates extending the timeline even further. This is an extraordinarily long time for an aircraft that isn’t even a clean-sheet design.

For reference, the original Boeing 777 took just 6 years from launch to certification. Crucially, the 777X still doesn’t have its TIA today, and FAA certification flights and evaluation will take several months. The missing TIA is Lufthansa’s basis for its doubts about Boeing’s current certification schedule.


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