Emirates president Tim Clark believes the success of the Boeing 777-300ER is behind the lack of success so far for the 747-8I, which has only secured 28 orders from two airline customers since its launch in 2006.
"What Boeing is up against is not the A380, it is their own machine - the 777-300ER," Clark says.
"The ER has proven to be one of the most popular aircraft ever produced, which is why we bought 100 of them. Even American is buying them. Not many but ,when they start flying it, they will realise how good it is."
Clark points out that Emirates carries 420 passengers on its 777-300ERs in a two-class configuration. He believes the 747-8I will only be able to carry slightly more passengers.
"Now look at the economics. We can get the ER to operate 17.5h with that kind of payload. It's cheap to operate. The engines are hugely fuel efficient," he says. "You've an amazing capability."
He also thinks the 747-8I will be "a fuel-efficient machine" as it has new wings and a new propulsion system.
However, Emirates has absolutely no interest in the aircraft and Clark does not see how many carriers can justify acquiring the 747-8I given the operating economics of the 777-300ER.
"I hope they get it out the door because there are so many difficulties at the moment now with the manufacturing fraternity - with the 787, the 747-8, the A380 trying to get that out the door four or five years ago and then the A400M programme. So they have all been up against it," Clark says.
Source: Flight International