DUBAI: Emirates encouraged by smooth A350 tests

Dubai
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Emirates is gaining confidence that the Airbus A350 will meet the airline’s expectations, after being encouraged by the state of the test-flight programme.

The airline’s president, Tim Clark, admits the “difficult birth” of the Airbus A380 and the development of the A340 had left him sceptical over early claims for the A350.

“I’m a bit fed up with things being promised but not delivered,” he says.

But he says the apparent reliability of the A350 test fleet in meeting the flying demands of the certification programme indicates good progress.

Clark says the indications he has received from Airbus point to the A350-900 “excelling” in its performance.

The airline has 50 A350-900s on order as well as 20 A350-1000s.

While he had expressed concern over the A350-1000 following its design revamp in 2011, he says the friction lay not with the aircraft but changes that had taken place “without our consent”.

But while the airline had been concerned over weight and thrust, Emirates had agreed to wait for the initial flight-test results from the A350 programme.

While Emirates has committed heavily to the Boeing 777X, Clark says the airline is “not trading the -1000s in” as part of its increased orders for the A380.

He adds that Emirates sees no conflict in operating the A350-1000 and 777X alongside the A380, “because we’re creatures of size and scale”.