Tim Clark never knowingly pulls his punches, but the Emirates president has clearly run out of patience over the seemingly endless inability of aircraft and engine manufacturers to deliver service-ready hardware. His recent tirade should be a stark warning to the OEMs.

As Clark points out, a new Emirates jet cannot move from Toulouse or Seattle if there is “one cent” missing from the final payment. But then, post-delivery, the OEMs want to “work together” with the airline to tackle reliability issues.

Emirates 777-9


This must cease, says Clark. “We cannot afford to have people saying to us that it’s not actually going to work.”

This outburst came shortly after IAG chief executive Willie Walsh lambasted Airbus for delays around A321neo completions, while Air New Zealand blamed its fall in profits in part on the ongoing engine issues with its Rolls-Royce Trent 1000-powered Boeing 787 fleet.

The fact is that both the mainline airframers – as well as all three propulsion manufacturers – have been blighted with technical issues in recent years, and clearly their customers have had enough.

Something is obviously broken in the approach being taken to the development and deployment of new technology. This is as a result of over-ambitious schedules, poorly executed production planning and a lack of quality control – partly as a result of the pressure OEMs have put on suppliers to deliver against unrealistic cost, rate and schedule demands.

The airlines must shoulder some of the blame, of course, as it is they who push the OEMs for more performance, lower operating costs, shorter lead times and competitive pricing. But clearly the major players have had enough. The manufacturing sector must listen to their customers as excuses will no longer wash.

Source: Flight International