Emirates in talks for 60 new planes-newspaper
Reuters English News Service 05/10/01
DUBAI, May 10 (Reuters) - Dubai government-owned Emirates airline
plans to buy up to 60 new wide-body aircraft worth $10 billion and is
negotiating with Airbus and Boeing, the pan-Arab al-Hayat newspaper
reported on Thursday.
However, any deal with Airbus may be affected by differences between
Emirates and France over the carrier's traffic rights to Paris, the newspaper
said, quoting informed sources.
The London-based daily quoted Emirates chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin
Saeed al-Maktoum as telling it: "We usually don't comment on these issues,
but we are not happy with the French position and we want the rights to at
least daily flights to Paris."
Al-Hayat said Sheikh Ahmed hinted the dispute may have affected relations
with Airbus, which is 80 percent owned by European Aeronautic Defence
& Space Co NV and 20 percent by British defence contractor BAE
"We were thinking of buying more Airbus A380s, but we decided to put
that on the side until matters are clear," Sheikh Ahmed said.
Emirates has seven A380s on order and was the first airline to sign a firm
deal for the giant 555-seat aircraft, which are scheduled to enter service in
EMIRATES HAS NO COMMENT ON AIRBUS TIES
Mike Simon, director of corporate relations at Emirates, told Reuters: "We
do not wish to comment on negotiations with Airbus," adding that the
French had so far refused Emirates' request for daily flights to Paris
instead of the current three flights a week.
Asked about al-Hayat's report on the plans to buy 60 new planes, Simon
said: "We do plan to increase the fleet and will be discussing with both
Airbus and Boeing new acquisitions."
"We plan a substantial increase in the size of the fleet in the next 10 years,"
he added, but would not elaborate.
Sheikh Ahmed told the newspaper that Emirates Group Managing Director
Maurice Flanagan was in Seattle for talks with Boeing officials on the
proposed Sonic Cruiser.
"We are interested in the Boeing Delta supersonic... I sent Maurice
Flanagan to Seatlle last week to meet Boeing officials and I will go to
Seattle next month for the same purpose because we are very curious to
know this new type (of aircraft) and are interested in buying it," Sheikh
He said the talks also include buying more 777 aircraft.
Al-Hayat quoted informed sources as saying that Emirates was looking at
another 20 to 30 Boeing 777s and that some deal could be announced at the
Paris air show next month.
Sheikh Ahmed told the newspaper that Emirates was planning to double its
fleet after instructions from Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin
Rashid al-Maktoum to increase the fleet to 100 planes by 2010 from the
"Our estimates show the number of passengers through Dubai airport will
reach 14 million this year rising to 55 million by 2010. Of those we will
carry about 65 percent or about 30 million passengers a year, which
justifies increasing the seat and operational capacity of our fleet," Sheikh