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Emirates airline still believes in superjumbo

AP  Mar 15, 2009

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Emirates, the biggest customer for Airbus' A380 "superjumbo," said Sunday it recently outlined a range of reliability issues about the double-decker plane but still has confidence in the jetliner.

Dubai-based Emirates, one of just three airlines currently operating the A380, said it recently met with Airbus executives "to give them feedback on the A380's reliability performance, including various technical issues which we had identified during our operations."

The airline declined to provide a copy of a document shared with Airbus detailing concerns about the plane. It said it has a "good relationship" with Airbus and is working closely with the plane maker.

"Technical issues are expected with new aircraft — particularly one that uses many new technologies. Naturally, as the airline operator, we want these to be resolved as soon as possible," the company said.

The carrier was responding to questions about a report in the forthcoming edition of German magazine Der Spiegel that said Emirates took a 46-page set of slides to what the publication called a "crisis meeting" between the two companies outlining maintenance problems with the planes.

The airline, which has received four of the 58 A380s it has on order, is also in talks with the European plane manufacturer about when it will receive additional A380s, saying it recently held a "routine meeting" with the Toulouse, France-based Airbus about future deliveries.

French media reports have said Airbus is seeking to delay delivery of new A380s.

"Like all airlines, Emirates continues to assess all options for its fleet and route operations," the company said in response to questions Sunday. It did not elaborate.

A company spokesperson, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with company policy, said concerns about the A380 and the delivery review are "not linked."

Emirates, the Middle East's largest airline by several measures, said last month it planned to add seven A380s to its fleet in the coming fiscal year, which begins April 1. It expects to boost the number of flights it offers overall by 14 percent this year, but recently announced plans to reduce service to China.

Hania Tabet, a spokeswoman for Airbus in Dubai, declined to comment on the status of Emirates' orders but said Airbus remains committed to delivering 18 A380s to its customers this year.

"Delivery schedules are agreed with the customer and we respect confidentiality," she said.

Emirates airline still believes in superjumbo
Airbus A380 in Emirates colors / Image via

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