April 9, 2021 / Because of its engine-related issues, the Boeing 777X program is running one year late. This, combined with the effects of the pandemic, caused changes in priorities of a number of carriers, notably Lufthansa (LH) and Emirates (EK), which decided to switch or modify their fleet plans for the upcoming years. Lufthansa, in particular, had been for a few years the airline set to receive the first 777X as launch customer of the type, a role then taken over by Emirates.
Now, both airlines apparently won’t accept the first 777X before 2025, and, as a consequence, Qatar Airways (QR), which had ordered 60 Boeing 777-9Xs on July 16, 2014, announced that it will become the launch customer of the 777X program, with the first three aircraft entering its fleet by the end of 2023.
As Akbar al Baker, CEO of the Doha-based carrier, specified, “Qatar Airways is the launch customer of the Boeing 777X aircraft and is actively working with Boeing on the design and performance specification for this new aircraft type. We will take the 777X as soon as it is ready. I think Boeing has notified us that there will be a delay on the delivery of those aircraft until 2023, so in the year 2023 we will receive our first three 777X aircraft”.
QR is also in talks with Boeing about the construction of a cargo version of the aircraft, the 777X-F, as a future replacement of the 777F, of which Qatar Airways, with 24 in the fleet, is the world’s largest operator. (Photo Boeing)