Airbus A380’s future is assured with Emirates very close to signing an order with Rolls-Royce to deliver engines for the 36 additional A380s the Dubai-based carrier ordered in February says the airline’s President Sir Tim Clark.
“The deal is just about to be closed, it will be Rolls-Royce”, Sir Tim Clark confirmed in an exclusive interview to Airlineratings.com on the sideline of the APG aviation conference in Monte Carlo, Monaco.
This ends speculation that the whole deal might fall through as airline and engine manufacturers missed several deadlines for the decision on which engines to select.
The deadlines were supposed to secure planned delivery from 2020 onwards. So far Emirates had ordered Rolls-Royce engines for 52 of its A380s and Engine Alliance ones for 90 aircraft.
Sir Tim Clark also talked about the delays in the current A380 delivery schedule.
Media speculated this week that the carrier might not be ready to take on more at the moment as the airline faces a pilot shortage and reportedly has stored some A380s at Dubai World Central airport.
But Clark dismissed these conclusions. “We don’t control the delivery stream, Airbus does, it’s called production. Unfortunately, quite a few of the A380 deliveries have slipped and they are all compressed in the back end of the year in the next two months, so we are taking them now.”
There had been speculation that it was Emirates asking for a stretch in the deliveries. “It’s not us delaying anything, one of the aircraft coming now should have been delivered in February, we are talking about a compression, all of them should have been delivered last year and haven’t been”, said Tim Clark when asked by Airlineratings.com
With the current widespread engine troubles in the aviation industry, Clark had some critical remark
“Engine manufacturers were moving too quickly to try to meet specifications. When it came to innovation they did little and sat on their hands, they overpromised and what we see now is the result of that.”
Commenting on the current problems Airbus faces with the geared turbofan (GTF) Pure Power engines by Pratt & Whitney powering the A320neo, Clark said: “I’m not saying GTF is a failure, it should work, I am not altogether sure why it hasn’t worked, whether it’s a metallurgical thing or a simple design flaw I don’t know because we haven’t got them, it’s a real shame but I’m sure Pratt will get it right, they have to.”
He urged propulsion manufacturers to combine innovations found in the LEAP powering the 737 MAXs and the GTFs for A320neos and regional jets with those implemented in high-thrust engines for wide-bodies.
“You see the quantum movements in the technology of thrust and weight driven by the ability of the engine to work hotter and harder, using ceramic technology to keeping the hot sections in check, even that’s under development at the moment. It is not going to a stop where it is today, what I am looking for is seven or ten years out, when all this has been looked at and they come out with better engines, that is what will happen.”
For Emirates itself, he said the biggest challenge currently is higher fuel prices. “At the moment we got huge problems with the fuel price, which is really destroying value for us, it really hit our bottom line quite hard, we haven’t had a good first half year just because of fuel.”