- Emirates, one of Boeing’s biggest customers, says it will leave no stone unturned when it starts testing Boeing’s new 777x aircraft.
- Tim Clark, president of Emirates, told Reuters at the Dubai Airshow on Tuesday: “I want one aircraft to go through hell on Earth, basically to make sure it all works.”
- Clark said Emirates will get their hands on a 777 “for a month of two” in August 2020 to test it. Production has been delayed.
- Boeing remains on the back foot after two 737 Max 8 planes crashed in October 2018 and March 2019, killing a combined 346 people.
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Emirates, one of Boeing’s biggest customers, says it will put Boeing’s new 777x jet through “hell on earth” before it lets passengers onboard as safety fears persist in Boeing aircraft following the 737 Max crisis.
“We need to be absolutely sure that as she comes together, as she starts flying, everything is done in a manner that it should be done,” Tim Clark, president of Emirates, told reporters at the Dubai Airshow on Tuesday.
“I want one aircraft to go through hell on Earth, basically to make sure it all works.”
Clark said Emirates will get their hands on a 777x “for a month of two” in August 2020 to test it. Production has been delayed on the 777x, and it is not expected to fly commercially until 2021 after several issues during testing. During one stress test, a door on the plane blew off, aviation site One Mile At A Time reported.
Clark met with Steve Dickson, the head of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA,) earlier on Tuesday to discuss the 777x’s certification progress.
“The FAA will take its time and do it the way it wants to do it rather than being guided by the manufacturer,” he told Reuters.
Emirates has ordered more of Boeings new 777x aircraft than any other airline, with an order for 150 inked in 2013. That number was reduced to 126 by Clark on Wednesday, Reuters reported.
Emirates also announced it placed a $9 billion order for 30 of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliners to make up for the reduction in 777x.
While Boeing have new aircraft on the way, the existing 737 Max craft remains the subject of intense scrutiny and criticism following two deadly crashes.
157 people died when an 737 Max operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed in March 2019. It followed the deaths of 189 people who died when a Lion Air 737 Max crashed in Indonesia in October 2018.
All 737 Max craft were grounded worldwide in March 2019 following the disasters. The 737 Max has had an update to its Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), the software blamed for both crashes, and is currently being examined by the FAA ahead of a likely return to service in 2020.
Many in the aviation industry remain skeptical about the 737 Max, however, with the head of an American Airlines staff union saying last week that some flight attendants are “begging” not to fly on the plane when it returns.
Reports by The New York Times and Reuters suggest that Boeing has pushed FAA officials to speed up testing and permit early deliveries of the repaired plane.
Boeing ended a sales drought for the 737 Max since the disasters by selling 60 planes during the first two days of the Dubai Airshow.