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Wed 11 Nov 2009 07:00 AM

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Emirates may look to buy more planes amid downturn

President of Arab world's largest carrier also says A380 delays will hit growth plans.

Emirates may look to buy more planes from Airbus and Boeing despite the recession that has prompted many other carriers to cancel and delay contracts.

Airline president Tim Clark said the current fleet was operating “flat out” and existing orders have been allocated to new services, prompting the Dubai- based company to assess the ability of Airbus and Boeing to source extra planes.

“We’re sounding out who’s got more just in case we decide to go ahead,” Clark said in an interview with newswire Bloomberg. “The fleet order we have in place is probably not as big as it needs to be.”

Clark didn’t say how many more planes might be required.

Separately at a roundtable event, he said a further five-month delay in the delivery of Airbus A380s could affect Emirates' growth next year.

"Some of our route expansion plans will be impacted due to a further delay in the delivery of A380s. We wanted to put them back on the New York route, but that will be delayed by at least six months," he said at the World Travel Market.

"We will now have 15 A380s by the end of 2010, instead of the planned 20. So, we will be down by five A380s which will obviously impact our growth plan. However, despite this, we are projected to take [delivery] of 22 aircraft worth $3 billion within this financial year," he said in comments published by UAE daily Gulf News.

Emirates, the biggest carrier in the Arab world, last week announced that its profit grew 165 percent to AED752 million during the first half of its financial year ended September 30.

This was compared to AED284 million recorded for the same period in 2008.

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