Dubai’s Emirates could buy an additional 60 to 80 Airbus A380s if the four-engined superjumbo were revamped with more fuel-efficient engines by 2020, the airline’s chief executive Tim Clark said, according to the Financial Times.
Emirates, the largest customer for the Airbus A380, had ordered 140 of the aircraft as of November.
“We have made it crystal clear to (Airbus) in the event of the (A380) neo being launched we would buy it,” the FT quoted Clark as saying.
Emirates has previously expressed interest in applying the lessons of other Airbus re-engining projects – nicknamed ‘neo’ or new engine option – to the A380.
Clark told Reuters last month that the neo could mean a 10-12 per cent performance improvement, if it were built.
Such a project would involve an upgraded engine from Rolls-Royce, as well as some weight reduction and better aerodynamics on the aircraft.
Airbus has so far refused to commit to a revamp for the A380, saying only that it would study the case for such an aircraft entering service sometime in the 2020s, the FT said.
It added that Clark said he expected Emirates to move to a new, bigger airport sometime after 2020 and that its fleet of A380s could grow from 50 today to as many as 180 as a result.
Emirates did not respond immediately to a request for comment by Reuters.