By Daniel Shane
Development on new variant of aircraft has been delayed amid probe into 787 issues
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways does not expect sales of a new variant of Boeing’s 777 aircraft to begin this year as anticipated, the carrier’s CEO told Bloomberg.
Speaking to the news service, Etihad’s James Hogan would also not say whether or not he thought the 777x, as the model has been referred to, would enter service by the end of the current decade.
“[Boeing Commercial Airplanes President Ray Conner] is meeting with us next week in Abu Dhabi, and as part of that meeting, we’ll look at what our future requirements are,” Hogan told Bloomberg.
“We’re believers in the aircraft and the product. We’ve had presentations in Seattle on next-generation aircraft and continue to evaluate the aircraft accordingly.”
Bloomberg separately quoted Conner as saying that development work on the new variant of the 777 had been delayed by ongoing technical issues with the newer 787 Dreamliner, all of which have been grounded amid an investigation into battery problems by US aviation regulators.
In February, Dubai-based Emirates Airline’s president Tim Clark told Reuters that he expected the revamped version of the 777 to be available within six to nine months.
Emirates has previously said that it will need to begin replacing its 777s by 2017. Emirates is Boeing’s biggest customer of the 777, with more than 100 in its fleet.
The 777 is one of Boeing’s best-selling jets of all time and airlines have been pushing the manufacturer to develop a new version of the jet that can travel farther with less fuel.