In a message to all Boeing Commercial Airplanes employees Thursday, Chief Executive Ray Conner said the company still intends to deliver the new 777X variant of its star widebody jet by the end of the decade.

Conner’s predecessor, Jim Albaugh, had said in March that he hoped to bring the 777X to the Boeing board for approval by the end of this year.

A Seattle Times story published Thursday, citing multiple sources, said that move won’t happen this year.

Conner’s statement did not deny that assertion, although he did take issue with the interpretation that there is any slowing of the 777X program.

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

He said Boeing will put the plan to the board “when we are ready” and “satisfied with the risks, costs and schedule, as well as many other important factors.”

“We are absolutely committed to the 777X,” Conner’s statement said.

Conner did not provide any update as to when he might take the 777X plan to the board for approval.

Nevertheless, his assertion that it will enter service by the end of the decade should please key customers such as Emirates President Tim Clark, who have insisted they need the plane by then.