“We will have several variants and improvements for the 777 in place before the A350-1000 even hits the market,” he said.
Boeing has not yet offered the new version of the 777, provisionally called the 777X, though carriers such as Emirates EMIRA.UL and British Airways (ICAG.L) have been planning for it to enter service by the end of this decade.
Boeing appears at least a year away from offering a new version of the 777, Reuters reported this week.
“I think you’ll see it in the near term. I don’t know if near term is tomorrow, next year or two years. But we are going to stay very close to our customers.”
“Our strategy is to stay close, see what they need and we will roll that out,” Johnson said.
Tim Clark, President of Emirates EMIRA.UL, the largest customer of the 777, said in November it would consider replacing its planned fleet of 175 Boeing 777s with the 777X.
“These comments were very reassuring,” said Johnson.
“There is demand for the 777X, but what this really comes down to is the trade-off,” he said, suggesting discussion are on the changes that are being asked for by the customers and what the planemaker can offer.
He added that Qatar Airways and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways will have a big role in the decision on the new stretched version of the Dreamliner, the 787-10.
(Additional reporting by Alexander Smith and Amran Abocar; Editing by Alexander Smith and Mark Potter)