Middle East carrier Emirates is in talks to lease up to seven Boeing 777-300ERs as interim capacity to fill the void created by the delay to its Airbus A380 deliveries.

Emirates, which is the largest single A380 customer, has 43 of the type on order and is planning to lease an additional two of the type from International Lease Finance (ILFC).

But following a third delay to the programme, Emirates is considering 777-300ERs as an interim measure.

Speaking during an Asian tour, Emirates president Tim Clark said: “[Emirates] will probably acquire five or seven more 777-300ERs in the next few days for delivery in the second half of 2008.”

An Emirates spokeswoman adds: “We are in talks with various lessors for the 777-300ERs.”

Emirates is now scheduled to take delivery of its first A380 in the second half of 2008, which is around two years later than originally planned. By this time Emirates was due to have had 18 A380s in service.

Mid-next month Emirates is planning to send a team of auditors to Airbus’ production facilities to try to determine if the manufacturer’s new delivery schedules for the A380 programme are realistic.

Source: FlightGlobal.com