Emirates was the center of attention at last week's Dubai air show. The Persian Gulf carrier became the launch customer for Boeing's 777X, with orders for 150 jets. Then it placed an order for 50 Airbus A380s, firming up a shaky orderbook for that aircraft. Emirates Airline President Tim Clark sat down at the show with Aviation Week editors to discuss the orders and his carrier's outsizedinfluence on new aircraft designs and the improvements he would like to see on the A380.
AW&ST: You would like Airbus to reengine the A380. How would that work?
Clark: Engine technology is going through major changes. In the fullness of time, the A380 needs to get the benefit of what is going on with midsize fans. The Leap is going to give us 18% [better fuel burn], so they say. To leave the A380 in a position where it isn't [getting more efficient] doesn't make sense. What I've said to Airbus is the A380 is a good airplane today, makes money and is popular. And the alliance engines are, by and large, OK. But the new generation of widebodies is changing the game. A lot has changed since the A380 came to market. If they crossed over some of the stuff we're seeing on the new generation of jets onto the A380, it would be a very much-improved airplane.
What time frame are you talking about? 2020?