Speculation is rife that a deferral of both models by Emirates could occur, noted the Air Cargo Management Group (ACMG) at its recent workshop in Seattle.
"It is speculated that Emirates may defer its A380 and 777 deliveries in 2009 and 2010."
ACMG's workshop notes, a copy of which was obtained by Runway Girl, point out that Emirates, one of the fastest growing airlines in the world, "has not made a public statement regarding its current passenger and cargo traffic since 4Q 2008".
The carrier recently removed the 489-seat A380 from its Dubai-New York route due to a decline in passenger demand. Its nonstop service from both San Francisco and Los Angeles to Dubai is carrying "reported loads on the 777-300ER and LR aircraft of over 80%", notes ACMG.
The consultancy adds: "Rumours abound of closer cooperation with oil-rich Abu Dhabi's Etihad."
Industry analyst Richard Aboulafia recently suggested that Airbus' heavy reliance on Emirates for A380 orders and the carrier's local rivals should be a concern to the European airframer.
"One-third of the orderbook comes from a region that depends on very high growth rates yet has just seen a negative month and six slow growth months," he said. "Some Middle-East deliveries will certainly get stretched out. The current ramp-up schedule might soften further due to deferrals and production issues."
Emirates is one of the top carriers in the world for in-flight entertainment (IFE) and interiors, so it makes sense for us to keep on eye on this. Here's hoping that the speculation is just that.