Move fast on 777, Emirates tells Boeing
Dubai, May 10, 2012
Dubai's flagship carrier Emirates has urged Boeing to make up its mind quickly on plans for an enhanced version of the wide-body 777, predicting it would be a success in the market.
Emirates' president Tim Clark also warned Boeing rival Airbus not to let the A350 widebody jet program run up three years of development delays, similar to those seen on Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
"The 777 and its derivative is of great interest to us because we started taking the 777-300ERs in 2005 and they will start retiring in 12 year period," Clark said in an interview with Reuters Television on Thursday.
Boeing is considering a refresh of its 777 with new wings and new engines to enter service near the end of the decade. Clark said Boeing was "nearly there" in terms of what Emirates expected from the revamped 777.
He gave a lukewarm response to Airbus' decision last year to beef up the largest A350-1000 variant with bigger engines and more range, while pushing its development back two years.
"It's up to them (Airbus) to deliver the airplane to the specification that we have contracted ... and that's what we continue to watch," he said.
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways halved its order for the A350-1000 over four months, dropping to 12 in April from 25 in November, Airbus monthly figures showed earlier this week.
Airbus has not sold any of the largest variant of its next-generation A350 since updating the design with bigger Rolls-Royce engines last June, while Boeing has been notching up record orders of the wide-body 777. - Reuters