Emirates Airline president Tim Clark is impressed with how Boeing's proposed New Midsize Airplane (NMA) is challenging long-held airliner design principles but thinks airline leaders may be too risk-adverse to embrace radical ideas.
Clark says he was shown the design during the concept stage and liked what he saw: "With its design optimised for low-cost and fast turnarounds with twin-aisles and lower freight volume, I have to say I was pretty impressed, although not perhaps for us."
Given the size of the global low-cost airline fleet now, Clark believes the time is right for aircraft designs to be optimised for the sector's specific needs, rather than being based on configurations that date back to the original jet airliners of the 1950s.
"I think that really needs to be challenged, given the way things are going. The one-horse-for-all-courses I don't think really fits now," he says.
"But it's a difficult time – people aren't buying the widebody twins.. and the world's a little bit topsy-turvy at the moment," he says.
The A321neo and 737 Max types "are more in the appetite zone for boards and CEOs – not much money, not great risk, etc, and doing the job."
Emirates' current network strategy requires good cargo capacity, but Clark says the airline could be interested if it adapts its business model: "If we had a regional operation within the ME [Middle East], I wouldn't say absolutely no, but I haven't seen the specs."