Emirates Airline president Tim Clark does not envisage any quick decision from Airbus regarding the launch of a re-engined A380 and is more concerned about the long-term prospects for the current variant.
Speaking during the IATA AGM in Dublin, Clark said discussions between Emirates and Airbus regarding the A380neo had "kinda lapsed, I'm afraid".
As far as convincing Airbus to go ahead with the upgrade, Clark says: "I can't force Toulouse to do anything. We have a contract for 140 A380s that we will take – Neo or no Neo. The Neo would be nice to have. My main concern is that they would stop producing the [current] aeroplane."
Emirates has 79 A380s in service and is set to receive its 100th aircraft in June next year. Clark indicates that the airline could begin to retire its early aircraft in around five years' time.
"Delta Alpha [the first A380 delivered to Emirates] is due to go out in 2021," says Clark. "Then as they come up to the same 12-13 year life, we will drop them out. Or we could extend them."
Meanwhile, Clark confirms that Emirates is evaluating whether to introduce a premium-economy cabin into its fleet.
"We'll do it at a time that we think is right," he says. "It's not something that can be done overnight. Will we be there at some point? Yes, I think we will, but I'm not prepared to say when at the moment."