The performance gains predicted for the A380 from 2012 through weight savings has pitched the aircraft directly "into the Boeing 747-8I's window", says Emirates Airline president Tim Clark.
"Beyond 2012 it's going to be a very close run thing between the two," he says.
Emirates has been in talks with Boeing about a 747-8I deal, with the key criteria being the capability to fly Dubai-Los Angeles year-round with an economic payload. Boeing has not yet been able to guarantee this, but says it is striving to achieve the goal.
However Clark says that improved capability of the A380 could make some airlines that are evaluating the 747-8I for its range rethink. "In our configuration the 747-8I would have 360-370 seats, but the A380 will be able to carry up to 100 more passengers" with similar range.