By Alwyn Scott
Sept 27 Confirming growing demand for the
world's largest airliner, a top executive of Emirates Airline
said on Thursday the company would be willing to buy
another 40 Airbus A380 jets, but that the fast-growing Dubai
airport where the airline is based is short of room for them.
Emirates Airline President Tim Clark had already said the
airline wants another 30 A380s, on top of 90 already on order.
Increasing that number to 40 suggests demand is rising for the
A380 made by the Airbus unit of Europe's EADS.
Emirates, by far the largest customer for the A380, whose
list price is $390 million, had 23 of the superjumbo jets in
service at the end of August.
Clark, speaking at an industry conference in Seattle, said
there are seven A380s waiting in Hamburg, Germany, for delivery
as part of the normal deliver schedule. He is not worried about
his airline's strong growth being affected by recession in
Europe, slowing growth in China and unrest in the Middle East.
Dubai, he said, "is a honey pot. There is no place better,
except maybe China."
Clark has been ratcheting up his demand for the 525-seat
A380 jet since he surprised the aviation world in 2010 by saying
the airline could buy 120 of the aircraft.
Emirates, one of Dubai's most prized assets, has continued
to grow rapidly despite a regional debt crisis followed by a
wider recession affecting the airline industry and high fuel
"We don't cancel orders," Clark said. "We get on with it."
If Emirates carried out its ambition of operating a fleet of
130 A380s, adding 40 to its current order of 90, it would
control a fleet worth over $50 billion at list prices and extend
its dominance as the European planemaker' s largest customer.
Regarding the development of a revamped Boeing Co
777, Clark said that the first of its fleet of 777-300-ER jets
are due to be retired in 2017, and Emirates would like to
replace them with the updated 777, which promises much greater
Given that deadline, he said it was a good time to start
"bellyaching" to get a new jet started. "I'm hoping to see it
sooner rather than later."
A Boeing official said the company is developing options and
"when we are satisfied with the risks, costs and schedule, we
intend to present a plan for offering the airplane to customers
that would enter the market late this decade."