Emirates uncertain on number of A380 deliveries in '09

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As Emirates prepares to place the last two aircraft in its inital A380 delivery tranche in service, the carrier is declining to comment on the specific number of aircraft slated to join its fleet next year.

Currently two aircraft are serving the carrier's Dubai-New York JFK route while a third is operating to London. Carrier SVP commercial operations for the Americas Nigel Page says another is schduled to start operating London flights in a couple of months followed by a fifth to Sydney.

Page and several members of the carrier's executive team were in San Francisco today for the landing of Emirates' first flight from Dubai to its second California destination. Service to Los Angeles began on 26 October.

Andrew Parker, SVP for public, government and environmental affairs, tells ATI the fifth A380 is scheduled for delivery during the first quarter of next year. But he says Emirates is "reluctant to state specifically" exactly how many aircraft the Dubai-based carrier will take delivery of in 2009.

Previously Emirates President Tim Clark has said the carrier expects a two-to-three month pushback in the second batch of seven to eight aircraft.

Parker made those comments while discussing efforts by Emirates and Airbus to reduce weight on the A380 by 5t. Emirates is working for a 1.5t-2t reduction while the airframer has committed to a 2.5t-3t reduction.

With teams at Airbus facilities in Toulouse and Hamburg, Parker explains Emirates hopes to see weight savings in the second wave to aircraft delivered to the carrier.

Emirates in August faced a delay of several weeks on its second A380 due to supplier issues with interior outfitting, which delayed the first daily A380 service to JFK.