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Pressure mounts following attack by Emirates

By David Brierley

The crisis at Airbus has deepened after stinging criticism from Emirates Airline, the largest customer for the new Airbus A380.

The president of Emirates, Tim Clark, last week attacked the company's range of aircraft in the German newspaper Die Welt, when he said: "Airbus has a load of problems."

Emirates recently dropped an order for the long-haul A350 because of what it considered were design weaknesses - mainly to do with the wing structure, which was developed in the middle of the 1980s. The A350 is now being redesigned.

"This criticism was a wake-up call," Mr Clark told Die Welt. "We need many of these aircraft. They got the message."

Yet Mr Clark told the newspaper that he believed there were still problems at Airbus. He said: "The four-engined A340 is in difficulties because of its high fuel consumption, the A330 because Boeing's 787 is superior. For me, there is a massive question mark behind the whole Airbus range, with the exception of the A320 and A380.

"The A350 has a maximum of 340 seats, the A380 has 550. And between them? Nothing.

"If Airbus really wants to compete with Boeing, it needs another aircraft."

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