Middle Eastern carrier Emirates is to introduce another seven Airbus A380s over its next fiscal year, as it expands its fleet by 18 passenger aircraft.

Dubai-based Emirates is planning to introduce the A380 on four-times weekly services to Singapore in December, as well as on flights to Seoul this year.

The seven jets will be joined by 10 Boeing 777-300ERs and a 777-200LR, plus a single 777 freighter for its cargo operation. All the aircraft will be brought in during the 2009-10 fiscal period, increasing seating capacity by 14%.

But Emirates says it will be restrained in its network expansion over 2009. Chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum says that there will be "fewer new routes launched" than in previous years.

"We will concentrate on strengthening our presence on routes where there is a greater demand from our customers," he says. Services to Los Angeles and San Francisco, for example, will be operated daily from May.

"All of our new capacity will be deployed in markets where we see growth potential, particularly Africa and the Middle East," says Al-Maktoum.

He says that Emirates has "prepared the best we can" for a tough year but adds that it could also be a "time of opportunity".

Emirates' current fleet will reach 132 by the end of its current financial year on 31 March.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news