Emirates airline expects consolidation in the low-cost sector in Asia, the Dubai-based carrier’s president said on Wednesday.
“I think there will be consolidation of low-cost in Asia, it’s a blood bath over there at the moment,” Tim Clark said at an event in Berlin on Wednesday.
Intense price competition in southeast Asia has made life tough for carriers, with Malaysia’s AirAsia X Bhd saying last week it would cut costs and might defer plane deliveries.
Clark also repeated calls for manufacturer Airbus to revamp its A380 aircraft with new engines, saying Emirates, the largest customer with 140 ordered, could order between 100 and 200 if Airbus did bring out a new version.
He said if Airbus did upgrade the plane, it would likely only come to market in 2020 or 2021, at which point Emirates would be looking to replace its old fleet, plus it would need more on top to grow its business.
“There’s nothing else that touches it,” he said, saying its load factors on the jet were above 90 percent, and that growing demand for travel, coupled with low oil prices could encourage other airlines to look more seriously at it.
Airbus has said it will only upgrade the plane if it makes economic sense.
Clark also repeated requests for the three largest U.S. carriers to publish a report alleging that the Gulf carriers benefit from trade-distorting subsidies and give Emirates Airline the right to reply.
Clark added he was looking forward to a boost to business from the much-debated 2022 World Cup to be held in Qatar and that he expected the Qataris to put on a spectacular show.
“For us, it will be great, the halo effect of the World Cup in the Middle East,” he said.