Emirates planning new wide-body aircraft order, Tim Clark says

Airline considering Airbus A350s, Boeing 777Xs and 787 Dreamliners as part of a move to replace and expand its fleet

Tim Clark, president of Emirates airline. Reuters
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Emirates, the world's biggest long-haul airline, is planning a new wide-body aircraft order as it seeks to expand its fleet to meet higher travel demand.

The Dubai airline is looking at Airbus A350s, Boeing 777-9s and “possibly” the smaller Boeing 787 Dreamliners, its president Tim Clark said at a media round-table at the 79th annual general meeting of the International Air Transport Association in Istanbul on Tuesday.

“We are in the market for buying quite a few more aircraft,” he said.

However, he declined to provide the size of the aircraft order or the timetable for the placement of the order.

Emirates currently operates a fleet of 260 aircraft. It has existing orders for 50 Airbus A350s, 117 Boeing 777Xs and 30 Boeing 787-9s.

The airline is in the middle of a $2 billion programme to retrofit more than 100 of its Airbus A380 jets and Boeing 777s as it awaits the delivery of A350s in summer of 2024, as well as the long-delayed 777Xs.

The A380s are scheduled to start exiting operations between 2032 and 2033, Mr Clark said.

“So, we are looking at plan that take us through the 2030s,” Mr Clark said.

The airline's Boeing 777X deliveries have been delayed for five years due to plane certification and engine issues.

“We will be getting the entry into service in the last quarter of calendar year 2025,” he said.

With Airbus ending production of the A380s, Boeing's 777-9 is the only bigger wide-body aircraft option, he added.


Emirates said last month that it swung to a record annual profit on strong travel demand.

The airline posted a Dh10.6 billion ($2.9 billion) profit in the fiscal year that ended on March 31, compared with a Dh3.9 billion loss in the previous year.

Emirates carried 43.6 million passengers, up 123 per cent from last year, it said at the time.

"The demand for our services continues to outpace our ability to get the capacity in place," Mr Clark said on Tuesday. "The results for the first two months of this year have already exceeded what we did last year."

The robustness of travel demand despite economic challenges and geopolitical headwinds has been "an eye-opener", showing that people "just want to get out and enjoy" themselves after the pandemic, he said.

"For the next nine months, we are full," he said.

Reflecting on previous challenges, Mr Clark said demand “reshapes itself and grows... at a faster rate” after every crisis.

Updated: June 06, 2023, 7:05 PM