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Boeing in 'advanced talks' with customers on 777X freighter sales, executive says

November 14, 2021
aviation

US plane maker confirms plans to deliver long-delayed 777X passenger version in 2023

Boeing is in “advanced talks” with customers regarding the sale of a proposed freighter version of its upcoming 777X wide-body aircraft, Ihssane Mounir, senior vice president of commercial sales and marketing, said in a briefing on Saturday ahead of the Dubai Airshow.

'Cargo has been one of the silver linings of this [Covid-19] crisis for us as manufacturers and also for the airlines in terms of the logistics requirements across the globe,' he said. 'Now the supply chain is relying big time on air cargo...When you look at the cargo market, it's been at its highest. I like to call it the Olympics of cargo right now in terms of how well it's been doing.'

When it is launched, the 777X freighter will be the largest cargo airplane in the market, according to the top executive.

'We are in pretty advanced discussions with a number of customers,' Mr Mounir said. 'The demand is sticking its head up and it looks pretty good, so we will obviously continue talking to customers and we're not at a point yet to make any announcements, whether about customers or for a launch, but we're pretty advanced into the discussions.'

The US plane maker confirmed plans for the entry into service of its long-delayed 777X passenger version in 2023 following discussions on the regulatory, flight-testing and market fronts.

The recovery in commercial aviation from the Covid-19 pandemic has taken a “strong foothold” in the last several months, with the pickup in international traffic fuelled by the reopening of transatlantic flights, he told a press conference in Dubai on Saturday on the eve of the airshow.

Boeing is also 'getting close' to resuming deliveries of its 787 Dreamliner, according to Mr Mounir, after the planemaker suspending them to deal with production flaws.

This is a case of Boeing being tough on Boeing. This is a case of us looking at every single aspect of the design and manufacture of the airplane, making sure we're complying... we will bring back that airplane to delivery as soon as it makes sense and we have all the checks with the regulators and with the customers.'

Meanwhile, Boeing is also engaging with the aviation regulators in China regarding the re-certification of its 737 Max in a market that is yet to lift a ban on the narrow-body jet. The 737 Max was given the green-light to resume service by key regulators in Western countries late last year after an almost two-year safety grounding following two fatal crashes.

'The largest jurisdiction that remains out there for the recertification of the airplane is China,' Mr Mounir said. 'We've had good engagements with the CAAC [Civil Aviation Administration of China] and with the airlines in China and successful flight test of the 737 in China.'

Mr Mounir said Boeing will not get ahead of the regulators in predicting the timing of the plane's return to service.

'When they get comfortable and they're satisfied with all the data we've given them, they will make the announcement,' he said. 'We are hopeful though that it will be happening here very soon.'

thenationalnews