Emirates Airline president Tim Clark says that the performance of the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental "is not there yet" for the airline to sign up for the passenger variant of the new family.

The airline already has orders for 10 of the 747-8F freighters and is understood to be in discussions with Boeing for up to 20 747-8Is. Emirates' Dubai-Los Angeles mission requirement is a capability that Boeing is striving to achieve.

"We are not ready to sign a contract," says Clark. "We've got to be sure that they would deliver the aircraft on the table at the moment, which will require some copper-bottomed guarantees."

The airline will receive its first A380 in August next year, and Clark says that while early aircraft are 6t over weight he is "optimistic" that Airbus's weight-reduction programme "will get 50% of that weight out, maybe more".

The airline continues to push Airbus to commit to the so called "A380-900" stretch that Clark says would be configured with 531 seats in a three-class layout (compared with 489 on Emirates' A380-800s) or around 700 in a two-class layout. "To stretch the aircraft would be a $2-5 billion investment [for Airbus]. We'd take it straight away," he says.

Source: Flight International