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​Emirates' Clark delivers broadside to OEMs on service readiness

Emirates president Tim Clark has run out of patience with the failure of aircraft and powerplant manufacturers to deliver service-ready hardware from day one.

The outspoken airline chief has put contract negotiations with Airbus and Boeing on hold as he waits for issues to be addressed around GE Aviation and Rolls-Royce powerplants which have afflicted the Boeing 777X and 787. He also expressed his concerns about the Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 and XWB which respectively power the Airbus A330neo and A350.

Clark says that the airframe and engine manufacturers have a poor track record in being able to deliver aircraft that work as they should from service-entry and is tired of the need for airlines and OEMs to “work together” to tackle the problems.

“I’m a little bit irritated that over the years we as an airline, and the industry, have been subjected to the requirements of the propulsion manufacturers, and to an extent the airframe manufacturers, where we are expected to deal with quality-control issues, design issues etc, and operate these aircraft and engines and take whatever consequences there are when they don’t work.”

Clark says that airlines need “99.5%” dispatch reliability: “We are not in a business to deal with aircraft that don’t function properly. The reason we buy new aircraft is to get five to six years of hassle-free operations on a technical basis.”

The rise of consumer protection has highlighted the need for aircraft to be delivered fully service-ready, says Clark, who points out that while the OEMs operate in a business-to-business environment, airlines are “B to C” – business to consumer.

“The levels of legislation underpinning consumer protection …means that if we get a passenger to the other side of the planet three hours late, we are subjected to ferocious financial penalties, if they are due to a technical issue with our aircraft,” he says.

“This forces us to say to the manufacturers: ‘You must give us aeroplanes and engines that work from day one without any restrictions.’”

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