DALLAS – 118 Airbus A380s, 80 actively flying, with the rest to join by the coming spring, and still, mega carrier Emirates (EK) says they’re just not enough. It’s hard to say that many of the world’s largest jets wouldn’t be enough, but upon hearing EK’s CEO, maybe it’ll convince you.
Emirates is the true master of the hub and spoke, and does so with the largest available fleet of jets in the market. The A380 has been their best buy and hasn’t failed to disappoint but has done so for nearly all other carriers. Given the A380 production is no more, EK seems to have hit a roadblock for the future. Demand speculation is surging and only a really large aircraft can help Emirates get the job done.
The Airbus A350-1000 is the largest jet Airbus has in store today and for Boeing, the 777-9 is yet to hit the market. Both these carriers seat approximatley100 less than the A380.
“The notion that the A380 was a spent force was always a little bit of a difficult one for us to swallow,” Emirates CEO Tim Clark told CNN Travel.
“I was chuckling to myself, thinking ‘Wait and see.’ We started flying the A380 into Heathrow six times a day in October of last year, and we haven’t had a [free] seat on any of them since.”
“The math tells you that you need a big unit, much bigger than we’re getting at the moment,” he says.
“The biggest one will be the 777-9, whenever that comes to market, which in our configuration [will seat] 364 people against 484 on the A380s with our new premium economy. And it was 519 before, so you get where I’m coming from.”
Listen to this article:
Emirates’ Dire Need for a Large Aircraft
Emirates expects that pre covid demand would increase another half in the coming decade and questions how it can commute such numbers if there isn’t a jet in proportion.
“Even with multiple 787s and A350s all busy flying around the world, I still don’t get how you will pick up that growth curve,” says Clark.
“Supply will be suppressed, demand will continue to grow, and when that happens prices rise, it’s inevitable.
“If you take the A380s out of the frame by the mid-2030s, how are you going to make it work? Do we see massive upgrades of airfields or new airfields?
While the current fleet of superjumbos will remain flying until the mid-2030s, EK has to look for a replacement and has done so by ordering a bunch of A350 and the 777X, of course, it’s sure to disappoint EK but its the only option unless Airbus or for that matter of fact Boeing, come up with a giant.
“I’ve spoken to Airbus more than once,” he says. “I think they’re beginning to take it a little bit more seriously, but at the moment they are concentrating on their single-aisle planes and the A350 line.”I see strong demand for the next year,” he adds.
Emirates A380 to Bangalore
Until now, EK flew to India’s fastest growing airport Bangalore with the Boeing 777s but come 30 October, one of the three daily flights will be flown by the superjumbo.
This will also be the first A380 to commence scheduled operation to BLR.
Featured image: Luca Flores/Airways