Emirates warns of impact of any further A380 delay

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As Airbus undertakes a re-evaluation of its production ramp-up plan for the A380, Emirates has warned that any additional delays to programme would create an “acute problem” for its near-term expansion plans.

Emirates has 58 A380s on order with deliveries due to begin this summer and run through to 2013/14. The first five A380s are all due to be delivered by March next year.

Airbus’s existing A380 production plan calls for 13 deliveries this year, 25 in 2009 with output then stabilising from 2010 at the maximum planned rate of 45 a year. However Airbus chief executive Tom Enders was recently reported to have said he is “conducting a major review” of this plan.

Any deviation from the existing ramp-up plan would impact deliveries to Emirates, which is of concern to the airline’s president Tim Clark: “We’re waiting for Airbus to complete its evaluation. The A380 deliveries are crucial to what we want to do, so if we don’t get them as planned then we’ll have an acute problem.”

For the longer term, Clark says the timing and capabilities of Jebel Ali’s Al Maktoum International Airport will drive any decision about further A380 orders: “If the airport is built to the size, and to the pace that we want, who knows what is possible.”

Clark adds that eventually Emirates will have to relocate from the existing airport to the new development as he does not “see a place for two international airports in Dubai”. The airport is due to be fully operational in 2015.

“The consultancy phase for the Jebel Ali master plan is at an advanced stage and Emirates has had a very big input into this. It should be finished by the end of the year,” he says.