The chief of the world’s largest international airline has criticised his competitors for not buying more A380 super jumbos as Airbus hints at closing down the production line in 2018.
Emirates president Tim Clark has warned that with air travel due to double in the next 10 years to seven billion passengers a year, airlines and airports will need giant aircraft like the 500-seat class A380.
Clark’s warning follows a Bloomberg report that Airbus CFO Harald Wilhelm told investors in London on Wednesday that Airbus is considering closing the A380 line because of a lack of orders.
“The A380 is a passenger magnet. We operate five a day from Dubai to London’s Heathrow and they are 95 per cent full,” Clark said.
“Airlines are too conservative and have not put the right interiors into their A380s.
“Some of the interiors are a disgrace and use 1970s thinking,” Clark offered.
“We put all our premium seats on the upper deck and economy on the main deck, but others have mixed them which is inefficient.
“Our competitors laughed at us when we put showers and a lounge in the A380. But passengers love the showers and they love the lounge.”
Clark said the A380 “is a great aircraft”.
“If airlines don’t believe they can fill an A380 then their business model is wrong. If they can’t fill it there is something wrong with their marketing.”
Emirates has 55 A380s in service with orders for a further 85. However, sales to other airlines have almost dried up.
Airbus is considering an upgrade of the A380 – dubbed the A380neo – with new engines and aerodynamic improvements.
Clark said the new model, if built, would have excellent economics, as good as the Boeing 777X that Boeing will introduce in 2018.
“And we will buy 140 of the A380neos,” said Clark.
“As long as I am around I am going to continue to fight the battle for the A380.”
“This is a great aircraft and the world needs it.”