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The 777X is still the tailor-made jet for deeply-frustrated Emirates

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Announced four days shy of the 10th anniversary of Emirates airline’s first order for the 777X in 2013, the deal for 95 twin-aisle aircraft from Boeing (including 55 777-9 and 35 777-8 models) is both a reminder of the airline’s deep commitment to the airplane type tailored precisely to its needs a decade ago and the unprecedented delays the widebody has faced during its development.

Though Emirates’s fleet choices have left it badly frustrated with Boeing, Airbus and their engine makers for the past decade, the industrial focus that once prioritized mega orders for a few airlines in the Middle East has shifted to product appeal across the global market. The last 10 years, and the pandemic’s reshuffle, have also brought the rise of direct competitors in Turkey, India, Saudi Arabia and a replacement wave in Europe and the U.S.

Related: Pandemic, aircraft development and legal disputes slow Qatar Airways growth plans

Emirates, once again the world’s largest widebody operator, since November 2013 has announced gross orders (or its intent to order) no less than 455 widebody aircraft. It never held that many aircraft on order concurrently. Emirates’ order book has fluctuated wildly, shuffled and converted to other widebody models as development, production and pandemic delays shifted which line it was waiting in. In the intervening decade, Emirates has received just 30 of those aircraft, all A380s, out of a November 2013 order for 50, according to ch-aviation. The A380 was formally canceled in 2021 after Airbus earlier rejected calls by Emirates to re-engine the superjumbo.

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