Boeing in ‘last chance saloon’ says Emirates president

An Emirates Boeing 777 from Dubai lands at London Heathrow.
Alan Wilson , CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Emirates president Sir Tim Clark has described aircraft manufacturer Boeing as being in “the last chance saloon” with respect to safety issues and manufacturing quality problems which have dogged the US manufacturing giant recently.

Speaking to the Financial Times in a recent interview, Sir Tim Clark, the president of the UAE flag carrier Emirates spoke of what he characterised as the “progressive decline” in Boeing’s performance; noting that the iconic manufacturer needed to “do better”.

Clark maintained his general support of Boeing headliners, chief executive Dave Calhoun and head of commercial operations Stan Deal but venturing that given the present situation they were in “the last chance saloon”.

The manufacturer has faced continued scrutiny this year since the January 5 incident which saw the aft cabin door plug assembly separate in-flight from a Boeing 737 MAX 9 being operated by US carrier Alaska Airlines on a commercial schedule service.

Boeing 777 Oversight

In his Financial Times interview, Sir Tim Clark further intimated that his airline would be sending its own engineers across to act as observers in the Boeing 777 production line. This would mark the first time that the UAE carrier had conducted such oversight.

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Emirates currently has significant skin in the game as one of the US manufacturers biggest customers. At the Dubai Airshow in November last year, Emirates placed significant bulk orders for 95 aircraft worth approximately $52 billion.

The purchase order included 55 Boeing 777-9 and 35 Boeing 777-8 aircraft, as well as 5 787-9 Dreamliners.

Emirates is currently the world’s largest operator of the Boeing 777 aircraft. The order which was announced at the Dubai Airshow in November 2023 took the carriers open 777 backlog to 205 aircraft in total.

Image Credit: Boeing

Speaking at the time, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group, had observed:

“We’ve been closely involved in the 777 program since its start up until this latest generation of 777X aircraft. The 777 has been central to Emirates’ fleet and network strategy of connecting cities on all continents non-stop to Dubai.”

“We are pleased to extend our relationship with Boeing and look forward to the first 777-9 joining our fleet in 2025.” 

This week’s interview with the Financial Times is not the first time Sir Tim Clark has spoken out about Boeing with respect to issues of quality or delivery delays in recent times.

In January this year, just days after the Alaska Airlines incident involving a Boeing 737 MAX 9, Clark observed in a statement to Bloomberg: “They’ve had quality control problems for a long time now, and this is just another manifestation of that.”

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 3 Min Read
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