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Wed 18 Nov 2009 01:51 PM

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Emirates' A380 growth 'constrained by airport space'

President says airline could take 20 more superjumbos if space at Dubai Int'l allowed.

Emirates Airline president Tim Clark said on Wednesday that taking on additional Airbus SAS A380 airplanes beyond the 58 on order is limited by the space constraints of Dubai International Airport, the airline’s base.

“The airline could take another 20 but there are physical constraints as to how we can get 20 additional aircraft in,” Clark said in an interview at the Dubai Air Show. “There are constraints at the airport at the moment.”

Emirates, the biggest Arab carrier, has ordered more of the world’s largest passenger plane than any other airline. So far the company has taken delivery of five A380, a double-decker jet that can carry as many as 852 passengers.

The airline will take a decision on whether to purchase about 11 new planes in the next two months, and Emirates is considering models from both Boeing and Airbus, Clark said in an earlier interview at the show.

Emirates has sufficient orders in place with Airbus for A350s and A380s, and there is no need for additional agreements, Chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum said at the show. The airline also has orders for 70 A350s, a widebody plane that’ll challenge Boeing Co.’s 787 and 777 planes.

“We signed a letter of intent last year that gives us 30 more” A350s, Clark said today. “That hasn’t been exercised as we’re just trying to finalize what’s going to happen at Dubai International Airport with regards to its expansion and whether there’s going to be room to fit another 30 aircraft in.”

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