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Biggest buyer for A380 may still buy more

800px-emirates_a380_2Nov. 11, 2009, Dubai, UAE - United Arab Emirates - Emirates airline said Wednesday it is considering increasing its order for the double-decker plane despite delays on existing orders.


November 11, 2009
By Adam Schreck - THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
   
800px-emirates_a380_2  
   

Nov. 11, 2009, Dubai, UAE – United Arab Emirates – Emirates airline, the biggest buyer
of the "superjumbo'' Airbus A380, said Wednesday it is considering
increasing its order for the double-decker plane despite delays on
existing orders.

Speaking ahead of next week's Dubai Air Show, Emirates chairman
and chief executive Sheik Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum told reporters
the Dubai-based carrier is looking to boost its commitment beyond
the 58 it has already requested – the most booked by any airline.

"We are considering that, actually,'' he said when asked about
additional orders. "We're actually looking at the market as very
positive for the next few years … We are always one of the
first-movers to take advantage of the market.''

A fresh commitment from Emirates could be a boon for Airbus,
which along with U.S. rival Boeing Co. has faced a slowdown in
aircraft orders as the economic downturn convinces carriers to put
off purchases and delay expansion plans.

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Fast-growing Emirates last week reported a fiscal first-half
profit of nearly US$205 million, well over double its earnings for
the same period a year earlier.

The state-owned airline, the Middle East's largest, ranks among
the world's biggest international airlines, both in terms of people
carried and miles flown.

It is the world's leading operator of Boeing's twin-engine,
wide-body 777 jet.

For the time being, however, Emirates says it is facing delays
with some of the A380s it has already requested. Just five of the
planes have been delivered to Emirates so far.

Sheik Ahmed did not provide an exact time frame or say how many
deliveries have been pushed back, though he acknowledged "there is
a bit of delay.'' He said the changes affected deliveries by a
matter of months, not years.

The blame for the late deliveries, he said, rested with Airbus,
not Emirates.

"Sometimes we are not happy about it because we want the
aircraft to be delivered on time,'' he said.

In a statement attributed to Emirates President Tim Clark, the
carrier said it was due to receive three A380s between November and
December 2009, but delivery has been pushed back to December and
January instead.

The airline has said it plans to receive a total of six
additional A380s by the end of March.

Airbus spokesman Justin Dubon declined to discuss details of
Emirates' order schedule, saying that "deliveries are agreed with
customers.''

Airbus has delivered seven of 13 A380s it plans to complete this
year, Dubon said. The plane maker has firm orders for 200 of the
wide-body aircraft.

Emirates is one of three carriers that operate the A380, along
with Singapore Airlines and Qantas.

Air France plans to become the first European operator of the
plane when it begins deploying it on the Paris-New York route later
this month.