Emirates, the largest operator of the Boeing Co. (BA:US) 777, is planning a major order for the aircraft’s new version, which the U.S. manufacturer has started to market to defend its lead in wide-body jets against Airbus SAS.
Emirates has 175 Boeing 777s in its fleet that will start retiring from 2017, many of which will replaced by the successor-model dubbed the 777X, President Tim Clark said in an interview today in Dubai. The 777X would be one element of a larger order, he said, without providing a time frame or specifics about other planes to be included.
Boeing has begun formally marketing the 777X, which still needs formal clearance from the the Chicago-based company’s board to commit to production. A major order from a well- established airline would support Boeing’s plan to move ahead.
“We’re not saying we’re going to buy 175, but we’re looking to replace a large chunk of them with the 777X,” Clark said.
Emirates is one of many airlines studying the 777X. Clark said last month that his airline was in more advanced talks with Boeing about the model than other airlines. Emirates would likely purchase the 777X in larger numbers than competing airlines given its fast pace of expansion. The airline has ordered 90 Airbus A380 superjumbos and may consider another 30, Clark has said.
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