Emirates airlines indicated on Sunday that it won't be announcing any big orders at next month's Dubai Airshow and said it wouldn't make a decision this year on whether to purchase Airbus A350 or Boeing 787 twin-aisle jets.
Tim Clark, the airline's President, asked at an event whether any orders were likely to be announced at the air show which runs from November 8 to 12, said the carrier was still taking delivery of planes announced at the last show in 2013.
“We're still running the program we signed for (in 2013), we've got aircraft coming in as you know. The Xs (777s) come in late-2018 and 2019. That's enough for the time being,” Clark told reporters.
Dubai's flagship carrier has said it is looking at an order for 50 to 70 twin-aisle jets - with the main competitors being the Airbus A350-900 and Boeing's new 787-10, a stretched Dreamliner.
“We're looking at both of them ... we've got a good comparison opportunity,” Clark told reporters on the sidelines of an aviation security conference hosted by the airline.
“Now we're going to the manufacturers about the numbers that we need and the prices they're prepared to offer. We haven't got there in detail yet,” he said.
Emirates has received the needed performance data on the A350 as well as from Boeing's 787-8 and 787-9, variants on the Dreamliner which are already in service, Clark said.
However, he raised doubts about the 787-10's ability to carry heavy passenger and cargo loads to distances beyond eight hours due to its performance in hot climates - an issue for a Gulf-based airline.
“It (787-10) doesn't have the capability of lifting the payload to distances that we would want beyond about eight hours,” Clark said.
Meanwhile, the A350 can fly for about 14 hours, Clark said, although he also said 85 per cent of Emirates' flights do not exceed eight hours.
Many analysts had expected Emirates to announce a big order at its home air show next month as it has done previously.
At Dubai airshow 2013, Emirates placed a record-breaking order for 150 Boeing 777x, valued at $76 billion at list price, and added another 50 A380 jumbo jets to an existing order for 90 of the Airbus aircraft in a deal valued at $21.4 billion at list price.
The carrier, based at Dubai International airport, is having to make difficult purchase decisions due to space constraints at the airport.
Emirates, which is pushing Airbus to make a stretched and re-engined version of the A380, is unlikely to shift its base to the new airport for another decade.