Emirates Airlines has called on aircraft manufacturer Airbus to improve the efficiency of its A380 superjumbos.
The Gulf-based airline is Airbus' biggest buyer of A380s, and it wants them to provide improved versions with more efficient engines by 2020.
Emirates has already ordered 140 of the aircraft from the European company but Tim Clark, president of the airline, has said that it would consider buying a further 60 to 80 of the planes.
He is frustrated, however, by the fact that Airbus has not yet committed to an A380 Neo, or new engine option. Airbus has not agreed to commit to it, saying instead that it will study the case for such an aircraft entering service sometime in the 2020s.
“Airbus need to get on with the job and say ‘This is how [an A380 Neo] will look and this is what [the aircraft] will do and this is the price we will charge in 2020’ and go out and test the market,” Clark told the FT.
“We have made it crystal clear to [Airbus] in the event of the [A380] Neo being launched we would buy it.”
He believes that the more efficient fuel engines offered by the Neo would boost the aircraft's sales by cutting the aircraft's operating costs by between eight and 10 per cent.
But Fabrice Brégier, chief executive of Airbus’ passenger jet business, said that there was “no urgency” to put new engines in the A380 and that focus should instead be on increasing existing sales.
Airbus has had difficulty in generating large sales of the A380 since it entered service just before the financial crisis in 2007. More than 40 per cent of the superjumbos have been bought by Emirates.