Emirates president Tim Clark threw cold water on Boeing’s launch of the new improved and bigger 787-10 version of its flagship Dreamliner, saying the new model may not be big enough for the fast growing Dubai carrier, it has been reported.
Boeing launched the 787-10 version of its flagship Dreamliner aircraft at the Paris Airshow on Tuesday with 102 firm orders worth nearly $30 billion at list prices.
The news came after rival Airbus clinched an $11.5bn order from UK budget airline easyJet for 135 A320 neos, including 35 current-generation planes and 100 next-generation versions, with options for a further 100 aircraft.
While Boeing's much-anticipated launch with five airlines and leasing companies marked a sign of support for the 787, just months after the first version was grounded due to battery problems, Emirates Tim Clark said it might not be big enough.
“We’ll certainly study the 787-10, but it could be a tad small for us,” Clark told the Bloomberg news agency in Paris. He said it would need to have a range of 4,000 nautical miles and be able to carry a 50-ton load to be considered by it, he added.
Emirates has ordered 70 Airbus A350s and Clark said he was impressed by the French-made aircraft when it made its debut flight last week. “It stayed up there for four hours and didn’t come racing back,” he said. “They exceeded their expectations.”
The 787-8, introduced in late 2011, was grounded worldwide in January after its lithium-ion batteries overheated on two jets in about a week. It resumed commercial service in May after Boeing installed a redesigned battery system on the 50 jets in service.
Clark is increasingly looking to larger aircraft and he revealed he is in talks with Boeing to develop aircraft that will allow it to fly ultra long-haul flights of up to 20 hours.
The state-owned carrier currently flies to 134 destinations in 77 countries and Clark told The New Zealand Herald newspaper in an interview he would like to double that figure, but did not give any specific timeline for achieving this.
"Remember we don't always serve primary cities, we are into second-level and third-level airports," he was quoted as saying. "Demand is hard to predict, we are not masters. Because we find it easy to make changes - if we find we are running out of aeroplanes we'll just go and order some more."
The Dubai-based carrier, which is the largest in the world for international passengers, currently operates 200 wide-body Airbus and Boeing aircraft and has orders for an additional 194 aircraft, worth more than $71bn.
In a bid to achieve his goal of nearly 270 locations, the report said Clark was in talks with US manufacturer Boeing on a new model of the 777, the 777X, which would allow it to fly ultra long 20-hour flights.
Clark said Sydney to Rome was on the horizon if the US manufacturer could develop an aircraft that was comfortable enough for passengers to sustain such a single journey.
"You've got to make sure you've got sufficient bits and pieces in there to deal with it," he was quoted as saying. He said options would include light colour palettes and the use of mood lighting to try and "alleviate the stress and boredom".
As part of the 777 upgrade, the report said Clark was looking at options such as a new wing and engines and larger windows.
* With agencies