Emirates (EK, Dubai Int'l) says it does not expect to take delivery of its first B777-9 earlier than 2023, three years behind the original schedule.

The Emirati carrier revealed its latest estimate for the Boeing widebody's service entry date in a press release announcing the introduction of a new premium economy class onboard its A380-800s. It did not go into any details about the reasons for the new delay nor did it break down the delivery schedule per year.

Emirates initially expected to be one of the type's first operators, alongside Lufthansa (LH, Frankfurt Int'l) and Qatar Airways (QR, Doha Hamad Int'l), with deliveries expected to have commenced in 2020. However, a series of production delays, caused partially by issues relating to its General Electric engines and to the COVID-19 pandemic, have forced Boeing to protract the B777X's certification process; its maiden test flight took place in early 2020, rather than in 2019. As such, Boeing's latest official timeline forecasts deliveries to start in 2022.

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, Emirates has sixteen B777-8s and ninety-nine -9s on firm order from the US manufacturer. It is the world's largest customer for each of the variants, as well as for the entire family.

Emirates' fleet of B777s currently comprises ten B777-200(LR)s and 129 B777-300(ER)s, as well as eleven B777-200Fs.