Emirates is one of an elite group of airlines being courted by Boeing over a new 777 model poised to rival the A380, it is believed.
The US aircraft manufacturer has been quietly working on a revamp of its B777 model to create a 450-seater superjumbo named the Boeing 777-10x, according to Bloomberg.
The new jet is expected to rival the Airbus A380, the future of which is uncertain after Emirates – which operates the largest A380 fleet – said last year it refused to put in new orders until modifications were made.
A reluctant Airbus is said to be in further discussions with a number of airlines about possible revised versions of the jet.
In the meantime, Boeing has fast-tracked research and development into the 777-10x and is ramping up talks with prospective customers, Bloomberg reported last week.
The business news wire quoted Boeing spokesman Doug Alder as saying: “We are always evaluating technologies, airplane configurations and market needs.
“While no decisions have been made, we will continue to study 777X derivatives and seek customer input to develop products that provide the most value for customers.”
Emirates did not comment on 777X speculation but said : “We are in regular contact with both Boeing and Airbus about our current and future fleet requirements.”
Boeing unsuccessfully pitched Emirates on its 747-8 jumbo two years ago as a potential A380 replacement.
Boeing’s proposed new model would seat around 450 passengers, Bloomberg said.
Emirates is also one of the biggest customers for Boeing’s long-haul workhorse, the B77-300ER.