Emirates pushes 777 upgrade

BOEING has faced heavy criticism from Qatar Airways’ chief executive officer and Cargolux director Akbar Al Baker over -8F delays, and now Emirates is pushing for improvements on 777s.

Emirates wants Boeing to come up with a better version of the 777 in the next six months and have it ready to enter service by 2018, Emirates president Tim Clark said.

Clark’s patience is wearing thin – two years ago he requested a twin-aisle aircraft that will fly more freight greater distances and be at least 10 per cent cheaper to operate.

The airline is Boeing’s largest 777 customer with around 100 of the aircraft in the fleet, and a further 40 still to come. Retirements are scheduled to start in 2017, so Clark is asking for a replacement that can carry 60 tons (54.4 metric tonnes) of payload from Los Angeles (US) to Dubai (UAE) – about 7,230 nautical miles (13,390 kilometres).

The 777-300ER, which entered service in 2004, can carry roughly that same payload up to about 6,800 nautical miles.

Clark has expressed concerns that the manufacturer will be unable to meet his deadlines, because more work is needed on propulsion amongst other items.

In related news, Emirates SkyCargo recently transported a 36-tonne rudder part – the heaviest single item ever carried by the freight division. The rudder stock – 9.16 metres long and 1.05 metres wide – was required for urgent repairs to a vessel at Dubai Dry Docks. The part would normally be transported by sea, but shipping through air was required to reduce the cost of the ship being out of service.

In conjunction with Dubai-based charter broker Air Charter International it was transported on a 747-400F from Seoul (South Korea) to Dubai.

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