Europe's largest aircraft maker said it will only start working on a new engine for its A380 "when the market requires it", according to Airbus President Fabrice Bregier.
Emirates has been challenging it for the new version for a number of years, but with no major orders for the superjumbo Airbus has resisted pressure from its largest customer.
In an interview in September, Emirates President Tim Clark said the Dubai carrier holding out for assurances about the future of Airbus' A380 programme before committing to an order for more of the double-decker aircraft.
"When you look at the A380, it is seen as the backbone of the success of Emirates," he said. "And this is the case, we continue to invest in improving the operational reliability which right now is at a very high level and we have offered upgraded versions," Bregier told Aviation Business.
However, despite Emirates' insistence, he said it is too early for Airbus to start working on a new engine option (neo) version of the aircraft.
"We know we can do it but we will do it only when the market requires it. So when especially Emirates will start massively replacing its A380s, which is too early for them to do and too early for us," he said.
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