Qatar Airways has announced that they are considering an adjustment to their order for 60 Boeing 777X aircraft.
Depending on the performance of the Boeing 777-9, Qatar Airways may convert their order for 10 777-8s to the larger 777-9; dealing yet another blow to the smallest 777X variant.
In an interview with Reuters, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker said the following:
“If the 9 is performing very close to the parameters that the 8 will operate, yes we may convert the 8 to 9.”
With Emirates being the only other customer, with 35 firm orders for the 777-8, development of the aircraft may end up being suspended indefinitely as discussed in a previous article.
Emirates has also put forward the idea of converting orders for the 777X, specifically the 777-8, to the smaller and potentially more suited 787 Dreamliner.
Boeing says the 777-8 won’t be delivered to customers in 2022, as initially intended; instead, the company has elected to wait until sufficient customer demand is available.
Qantas is the only other notable potential buyer for the 777-8, as they are in the market for an ultra long-haul aircraft to fly between the east coast of Australia and Europe non-stop.
Despite this, Airbus is aggressively marketing their A350-1000. The manufacturer has recently confirmed plans to upgrade the A350-1000 to make it far more capable than it currently is.
Delays caused by General Electric GE9X engine performance issues and airframe load testing failures have pushed back the maiden flight of the 777-9 to 2020.
Emirates is now estimating initial delivery of the 777-9 to occur in April 2021, which is far later than expected.
More news on the 777X, especially from Emirates, is expected to be unveiled during the November 2019 Dubai Airshow.