Emirates chief hits out at rival airlines over ‘disgraceful’ A380s

Emirates usually configures its A380s with 517 seats in three classes (photo by Dr Ajay Kumar Singh)
Emirates usually configures its A380s with 517 seats in three classes (photo by Dr Ajay Kumar Singh)

The president of Emirates has hit out at rival airlines for the quality of their Airbus A380s, branding the interiors of some aircraft a “disgrace”.

Responding to a Bloomberg report that quoted Airbus‘ chief financial officer, Harald Wilhelm, as saying that the planemaker may shelve its A380 project due to poor sales, Emirates’ president, Sir Tim Clark, told industry website AirlineRatings.com that rival airlines need to do more to entice passengers on to their superjumbos.

“The A380 is a passenger magnet. We operate five a day from Dubai to London’s Heathrow and they are 95% full,” Clark told AirlineRatings.com in an interview.

“Airlines are too conservative and have not put the right interiors into their A380s. Some of the interiors are a disgrace and used 1970s thinking. We put all our premium seats on the upper deck and economy on the main deck, but others have mixed them which is inefficient.”

Clark added that Emirates’ product innovations, such as onboard showers and lounges, were “laughed at” by other airlines when they were introduced, but have since been welcomed by passengers.

Emirates currently operates 55 A380s - more than a third of the global fleet
Emirates currently operates 55 A380s – more than a third of the global fleet

“The A380 is a great aircraft. If airlines don’t believe they can fill an A380 then their business model is wrong,” said Clark. “Their marketing is all wrong.”

The Emirates president warned that with air travel due to double in the next 10 years to seven billion, airlines and airports will need extra large jets like the A380.

Airbus has so far sold 318 A380s, 147 of which have are already in service. But Emirates accounts for 44% of those ordered and more than a third of those currently operating.

Emirates usually configures its A380s with 517 seats in three classes, but other layouts range from Korean Air‘s spacious 407-seat A380 to Transaero Airlines’ planned 652-seat version.

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