(Adds more comments on Ukraine, Airbus background on A380)
By Victoria Bryan
BERLIN, May 20 (Reuters) - Emirates, Dubai’s flagship airline, would be interested in buying more A380s from Airbus if the planemaker brought a revamped version of the superjumbo onto the market, much like it has done with its A320neo, an executive told Reuters.
Airbus head Fabrice Bregier said on Monday that the A380 would have to evolve in order to meet the challenges presented by Boeing’s rival 777x jetliner, but he did not provide further details.
“We can just encourage Airbus to continue and speed up the possible improvements, especially the fuel efficiency and a Neo version,” Emirates Chief Commercial officer Thierry Antinori told Reuters at the Berlin ILA Airshow on Tuesday.
“If the Neo version is coming we could consider ordering more planes,” he said, without specifying how many the airline, already the A380s largest customer, could be interested in.
A surprise order for 50 more of the planes from Emirates at the Dubai air show in November effectively pulled the programme back from the brink after sales failed to match up to initial projections.
Antinori, speaking to Reuters on board a brand new A380 picked up from Hamburg on Monday, also said the airline was well financed this year and did not currently intend to place any bonds in the market.
He said the airline had reduced services to Ukraine due to the crisis there as fewer people were flying to Kiev.
Demand remained strong in Russia, however, and the airline expected to go ahead with plans this summer to replace a smaller plane with an A380 on one of its twice-daily flights to Moscow from Dubai. (Editing by James Regan)