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Fri, Jan 26, 2007

Report: A380 Delays Lead To More Orders In Boeing's Book

Emirates To Order 12 More 777s

The A380 wiring crisis may be over... but European planemaker Airbus is still experiencing fallout from delays in production of the mammoth airliner because of it. Thursday, reports surfaced Arab carrier Emirates plans to order 12 additional Boeing 777-300ERs to "plug the gap" in its routes caused by late deliveries of the A380.

"We've ordered 54 777-300ERs already to help us plug the gap left by the A380 on routes like New York, Sydney and Melbourne," Emirates Vice Chairman Maurice Flanagan told Bloomberg this week. "We're now going to order 12 more 777-300ERs for delivery hopefully in 2008 for the same reason."

Flanagan adds the order is "imminent,"

The news is disquieting to Airbus for a couple of reasons. With 45 orders for the A380, Emirates is the largest customer for the double-decker plane... and, arguably, holds the most influence over Airbus should any further problems crop up with the aircraft. Already, Emirates has demanded steep concessions from Airbus due to the previous three delays in the program.

"We won't be modest in our demands," Flanagan said. "When we get our first A380, we should have had 18; (it's) a huge hit on the airline and on its revenue producing capability."

An order for 12 more Boeing 777s would also make Emirates the carrier with the largest fleet of Boeing's long-legged, widebody twinjet... surpassing current leader Singapore Airlines by six aircraft. Each 777 in either carrier's fleet is also, in theory, one less potential A350XWB order for Airbus, when that plane comes online in 2013.

That's a big deal, especially as Emirates is also mulling over an order for as many as 100 midsized widebody airliners in the near future.

"We'll make our minds up on this order when we're entirely clear on what these models offer," he said. "We're not clear on the A350 widebody yet. We expect a clear picture from Airbus in a few months."

FMI: www.emirates.com, www.airbus.com, www.boeing.com

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