Emirates (EK, Dubai International) President Tim Clark has demanded compensation from Boeing (BOE, Washington National) for delays in the development of the new B777X and wants the manufacturer to cover the costs of refurbishing Emirates' existing B777 fleet, while the airline grapples with uncertain B777X delivery dates.

Clark was speaking on June 2 at a news conference at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Annual General Meeting in Dubai. "We need our airplanes, we cannot face constant delays. We've got a business to run, and the bill for refurbishing all these airplanes should be put at Boeing's door," Clark said, as quoted by Reuters.

A Boeing spokesperson declined to comment when approached by ch-aviation.

Clark told reporters that Boeing could not say exactly when the new B777X would start being delivered. Emirates is refurbishing the cabins of 191 aircraft, including twenty-eight B777s. According to the ch-aviation fleets, the airline has 210 B777 types on order, namely 170 B777-9s, thirty-five B777-8s, and five B777-200Fs. Its current fleet already comprises 122 B777-300ERs, ten B777-200LRs, and eleven B777-200Fs.

In its first quarter 2024 financial results, Boeing said it expects the first B777X to be delivered in 2025 - five years later than initially scheduled. The manufacturer is working to obtain approval from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to begin certification flight testing. The number of B777X undelivered firm orders stood at 444 by March 31, 2024, up from 416 a year earlier. The OEM has said it is producing four aircraft per month in the B777/B777X programmes. It expects delivery of the first -9 in 2025, the first B777-8F in 2027, but the first passenger B777-8 not until 2030.

In an interview with The Air Current, Clark claimed the B777X test-flight programme had stalled as Boeing wrestles with production quality issues over the B737 MAX. He now expects Emirates' first B777s to arrive in the second quarter of 2026.

Clark suggested Boeing would need a further five years to address its safety and quality crisis before meeting production demands from new and existing customers. "Boeing needs to reflect on what went wrong over the last ten to 15 years and figure out how to fix it," he said. "They need to return to their previous standards. If they do that, the entire process is salvageable and fixable and we can get things back to where they need to be. How long will that take? I think we're looking at a five-year hiatus."

The Emirates president was echoing recent views expressed by chairman and CEO Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum who told the OEM "to get its act together".

At a news briefing on May 30, the FAA said it had reviewed Boeing's roadmap to fix its systemic safety and quality-control issues. This followed a three-hour meeting with senior Boeing executives in which they presented a plan to address these concerns. In February, FAA administrator Mike Whitaker directed Boeing to develop a comprehensive action plan to set a new standard for safety following the January 5 Alaska Airlines B737-8 door plug incident.

Boeing's proposal, developed over 90 days with FAA input, aims to reset the safety culture within the company and address findings from FAA audits and expert reviews. Additionally, Boeing will implement a mandatory safety management system to identify and manage risks. Whitaker said the FAA would continue to ensure that Boeing's proposed fixes were effective.