Thursday, October 1, 2020
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777x hiccup not a concern for Gulf airlines

Dubai: Regional airlines have not expressed any concerns on the production of Boeing’s next generation 777x series despite the company not knowing where it will be built, according to Boeing.

“When we weigh our options we will weigh that with the clear understanding and focus on the commitments we have made to our customers in respect to time and delivery,” Ray Conner, President & Chief Executive Officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said at a media briefing in Dubai on Saturday.

Last week union workers in the United States voted down a proposal from Boeing management that would have guaranteed the construction of the next generation aircraft in Seattle.

Emirates and Etihad Airways will reportedly make announcements at the Dubai Airshow this week that they will be placing orders for the new 777x series.

While Qatar Airways has emerged has another possible launch purchaser for the aircraft following confirmation Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer has seen details of the new Boeing series.

Last month Al Baker reportedly said he was “not interested” in the 777x series because Boeing had not shared any of the details. But Conner affirmed on Saturday that Al Baker has “seen enough details”.

“I think he is interested in the 777x so we will just have to see how it shakes out,” he said.

The relationship between Qatar Airways and Boeing was strained in the fallout out of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner grounding. At the time Al Baker was vocal in his frustration at the US-manufacturer.

But Conner insists the relationship is okay.

“We have had some issues with the [787] airplane obviously and that is frustrating for me so I appreciate his frustrations,” he said.

The Gulf has become an important market for airplane manufacturers and regionally-based carriers are expected to order 2,610 airplanes in the next 20 years, according to Boeing forecasts. But Conner insists that none of the regional airlines have “expressed any concerns”.

Conner said the 777x series will be built within the existing schedule and will meet the commitments Boeing has made in respect to timing and rates.