Emirates 777. Courtesy, Boeing

Emirates (EK) president Tim Clark confirmed to ATW that its order for up to 70 Boeing 777-300ERs was an insurance against late deliveries of the Airbus A350 (ATW Daily News, Nov. 15). “We do not want to be caught out with a capacity shortfall,” he said.

Clark also said he was bullish on Boeing’s plans for further development of the 777. “It is looking very good. Mind you, it is one thing to talk about what you can do another to guarantee it,” Clark said at the Dubai Airshow.

Boeing is reserved on details of 777 development, but analysts said a composite wing is a certainty along with weight reduction of up to 20,000 lbs. “They have learned a lot from the 787 program, which will be incorporated into the next upgrade of the 777,” one analyst said.

Clark, meanwhile, is cautious on the A350 program slippage. “Our A350-1000 order is in limbo—we want the original specification,” Clark said (ATW Daily News Aug. 11). “We were not consulted on the changes.”

Clark also told ATW he was urging Airbus to go ahead with a stretch A380 that would seat up to 670 in a three-class configuration.

“We would want an additional 120 to 150 seats and would use it on medium-range missions to cities such as Bangkok and Beijing,” Clark said, noting that passengers will drive many miles to take an A380 flight.

“Our Manchester [A380] service is drawing passengers from all over the north of England. Passengers will drive to Manchester rather than our other cities such as Birmingham to pick up the A380,” he said.