Details have emerged of Emirates' Airbus A380 delivery schedule over the next three years, which reveal that the airline has pushed back fleet expansion and will not receive any of the superjumbos for almost a year after the end of 2010.
Speaking at the Dubai air show, Jim Moravecek, outgoing president of the 50/50 General Electric/Pratt & Whitney joint venture Engine Alliance, said that Emirates, which is the lead GP7200-powered A380 customer, had delayed deliveries: "Emirates will take 15 A380s through next year, then defer for a little while."
An Engine Alliance chart showing fleet growth of the GP7200-powered A380 between the first delivery in 2008 and 2012 reveals that from mid-2010, when the Emirates fleet was due to reach 15 units, there are no deliveries for around 10 months. Since the chart was produced, Emirates has revealed that due to production hold-ups its A380 fleet will not reach 15 units until late 2010.
According to the chart, Emirates shipments then resume from around mid-2011 (a date that is also likely have moved to the right), with its fleet rapidly doubling over around 18 months to 30 aircraft by the end of 2012.
Emirates Airline president Tim Clark recently told Flight International the airline's A380 schedule beyond the first 15 deliveries "remains fluid". In response to the Engine Alliance data, Emirates says "we still have no firm delivery schedule from Airbus", but will not comment about whether it has deferred any aircraft.
Emirates has taken five A380s since its first arrived in July 2008. Its sixth, which is due before the end of November, is one of the ex-Airbus development airframes. Nine more deliveries are due through to late 2010.
Moravecek, who took over as Alliance president in mid-2008, is returning to P&W early to lead its advanced next-generation product family arm. He has been replaced by Mary Ellen Jones, who will see out the remainder of the three-year term.
Meanwhile, Emirates has brought forward the introduction of the A380 on the Dubai-Paris route, with plans to start services before the end of the year. It says the decision is due to an "operational review, coupled with demand on the route" as well as "earlier aircraft availability".