Etihad Airways is allegedly looking at ways to cancel or postpone its Boeing 777X orders, reports say.
Etihad Airways is reported to be working with Boeing to find ways to cancel or postpone billions of dollars’ worth of orders for 777X aircraft, Reuters reports. It is another sign of the carrier’s financial woes – and could also harm the prospects for Boeing’s newest model.
Reuters writes that four sources familiar with the matter say the airline’s management believes it would rather face penalties for cancellations of the 25 777X twin-engine planes than suffer from future overcapacity.
Etihad and Boeing declined to comment on the reports, which come after Abu Dhabi-based Etihad conceded losses of almost $2 billion in 2016 and a loss of $1.52 billion from its “core operations” in 2017.
Etihad was to have been one of the launch customers of the 777X, an upgrade to Boeing’s mini-jumbo series that also includes plans for the world’s biggest twin-engine aircraft type, the 406-seat 777-9, due to enter service in 2020.
Finding other airlines to take Etihad’s production slots in time for launch may not be easy, insiders say, due to the high cost. The 777-9 version has a list price of $426 million.
Emirates and Qatar Airways are also 777X launch customers, and other buyers include Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa, ANA and Singapore Airlines. Only Turkish Airlines is reported to have shown interest in joining the group.
In total, Etihad has orders for over 160 Airbus and Boeing aircraft worth billions of dollars – most of which were ordered when it was eager to keep pace with Emirates and Qatar.