Emirates' 100th Airbus A380 is pictured during its delivery ceremony at the German headquarters of aircraft company Airbus in Hamburg-Finkenwerder. -Reuters
Emirates believes Airbus can meet demands from the airline's owner, the Dubai government, for the European planemaker to guarantee development of the superjumbo A380 program. "I am sure that if we get closer to a further order, the Airbus board will make that undertaking," Emirates President Tim Clark told reporters on Tuesday at the Dubai Airshow.
An anticipated order for A380 superjumbos worth $16 billion failed to materialize at the last moment on Sunday, forcing Emirates and Airbus into further talks to finalize a deal. Clark declined to speculate when a deal might be reached, but hinted on Monday it could be a matter of weeks or months.
Airbus Chief Executive Tom Enders left the air show on Monday, though sales chief John Leahy remained at the event in an effort to catch up on negotiations delayed by urgent talks prompted by the unexpected suspension of the A380 deal. Clark suggested that either Emirates or discount carrier flydubai, which is also owned by the Dubai government, could be interested in a mid-sized jet that Boeing is considering developing.
"Whether it is in flydubai or in Emirates, with the carriers working far closer than they have been for a long time, would it fit? Yes, I think possibly in certain routes," Clark said. Designed to reduce drag by shaving cargo space in the belly while carrying 225-275 passengers, the proposed jet would not work on routes where Emirates carries significant cargo. But Clark said the aerospace industry would welcome the new plane.
"I can see a place for it in Europe. I can see a place in transcontinental USA and Asia," he said, adding it would suit markets with congested airports but relatively low freight traffic, where airlines may not be willing to bet on a traditional twin-aisle jet sitting more than 250 people. Dubai's Emirates says it could order more Boeing 787s on same terms"Looking at it from an industry point of view, I think there is scope for that," he said.
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