Emirates and flydubai woes are focus for Boeing as chiefs arrive in town

Frustrations with 777X and 737 Max to be discussed with UAE airlines at Dubai Airshow this week
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One of Stan Deal’s first jobs at the helm of Boeing’s commercial arm will be to meet with Emirates and flydubai bosses at the Dubai Airshow this week, to discuss the 777X delay and the Max grounding.

Both Dubai-based airlines have been frustrated by ongoing issues with the two planes, with the 737 Max grounding severely impacting flydubai’s operations and Emirates having to re-plan its strategy after the 777X’s delivery date was pushed to 2021.

Following the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines aircraft in March, flydubai grounded its current fleet of 14 Max aircraft, severely impacting its operations and profit and reducing its fleet to 2014 levels. The carrier reported a half-year loss of $53.6 million – a 38% reduction compared to H1 2018.

At a media briefing on the eve of the Airshow, Deal, who is now president of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, told reporters that Boeing is having “ongoing discussions” with flydubai about “ensuring that we do our part to mitigate the impact [of the groundings] and then ensuring that we are working together as time approaches to return those aircraft to service.”

Deal said: “We’ve been working actively with flydubai to ensure that the airlines are preserved well, maintaining updates with our engine partner CFM and provisioning parts so that as the airplanes come back, they are ready to fly.”

Deal also plans on discussing the ongoing 777X delay with Emirates. Boeing is due to deliver 115 of the planes, with the first eight being delivered in 2020. But the 777X is now not expected to enter service until 2021, following test flights next year.

Clark said at the Aviation Show in Dubai last month that he insists on a 13 to 16 month test period for the 777X before it enters service.

Deal would not comment on whether Boeing has introduced a 16 month test programme on the 777X but said that the company has “a robust test programme and we’re working through the developments”.

He told reporters: “It’s never easy when you delay beyond your initial commitment and we’re working through that with Emirates now… and how we deal with the fact that it’s caused them to have to re-plan, which is never a good thing.

“We’re working through those discussions, I have discussions at the Airshow. But long-term, the 777X’s value remains intact.”

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