DOHA, June 2 Dubai's Emirates
airline, the largest customer for the Airbus A380, said on
Monday it hoped to achieve progress soon on its call to upgrade
the world's biggest passenger jet with new engines.
Emirates has expressed interest in applying the lessons of
other Airbus re-engining projects - nicknamed 'neo' or
new engine option - to the four-engined superjumbo.
"There is a distinct possibility that if the neo is built it
will give a 10-12 percent performance improvement, so it is
definitely worth having and we are hoping to move on that pretty
soon," Chief Executive Tim Clark told reporters.
Such a project would involve an upgraded engine from
Rolls-Royce, as well as some weight reduction and better
aerodynamics on the aircraft, he said on the sidelines of an
IATA airline industry meeting in Doha.
Engine Alliance, a joint venture between General Electric
and Pratt & Whitney, competes with Rolls-Royce to
supply engines on the current version of the A380.
It supplies the engines for the current A380s operated by
the Dubai carrier but is not expected to take part in any engine
upgrade as its shareholders focus on other projects.
Emirates increased its order for A380s in November, adding
50 aircraft to bring the total on order to 140.
The first 25 Engine Alliance-powered aircraft are due to be
delivered in 2016 and 2017, Clark said.
The second batch will be delivered after 2020 and could be
fitted with upgraded Rolls-Royce engines, if that project goes
ahead, he added. Emirates will however take delivery even if
there is no decision to upgrade the double-decker jet.
"If they don't produce it we will take it under the old
version. There is nothing out there that resembles what the A380
Emirates is not interested in Boeing's 467-seat
747-8, Clark said, despite a report of talks between Boeing and
(Reporting by Tim Hepher, editing by Louise Heavens)