Not more than 6 months ago it was cited here that EK would probably be ordering more 777Xs with the cancellation of the A380s... How times have changed?
https://www.seattletimes.com/business/e ... -shake-up/
Emirates is considering at least 20 of the 777X planes while weighing the cancellation of an existing deal for 40 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, said the people, who asked not to be named as the discussions are private.
Throwing my input into the mix:
The business model of EK is changing. Gone are the days of easy route network additions, easy frequency additions, and airport capacity at DXB to make it all happen. With ever increasing long-haul primary to secondary and secondary to secondary route pairs springing up, the asset EK had to facilitate these 'attractive' connections is diminishing. It made sense to fly EK between cities like BHX and BOM where your competitors either offered a significantly inferior product, you preferred the timings EK offered through the frequency they provided, or maybe you the price was more competitive. Either way, at some point you were likely to board a wide body aircraft at some point in your journey on such a route. Now, it's not far-fetched to imagine a 321XLR economically operating this route non-stop one day, eliminating the need to transfer at DXB. This sort of primary to secondary route examples can be extended to many of the destination EK connects through DXB.
Where EK was once competing with other carriers with similar CASM, EK will now have greater competition from lower CASM carriers when more and more narrow body aircraft gain range to become competitive on long sectors. There now has to be even greater emphasis on CASM reduction than ever before to be able to compete. Don't forget, air traffic between two points is merely supply and demand, and the factor that influences an individual's choice to fly non-stop or via intermediary points is their price sensitivity. With that said, EK can still be competitive between two points, but it has to offer a ticket price that is competitive. The only way to do this will be to somehow manage to have a CASM competitive enough with its long-haul narrow body competitors, or increase its customer's willingness to pay to fly EK.
With all those economics behind, I don't see a need to have the 778 order. The CASM of this aircraft will obviously be higher than its 359 counterpart. The list price differential is around $100m alone. From an operations perspective, there are very few destinations that would demand the range/payload superiority that the 778 has over the 359, and I don't see that changing in the immediate future. I would however suspect that we a formal launch of the 777-10 could be on the table to be a substitute for the 778 orders...