DUBAI - Emirates believes Airbus can meet demands from the airline's owner, the Dubai government, for the European planemaker to guarantee development of the superjumbo A380 programme.
"I am sure that if we get closer to a further order, the Airbus board will make that undertaking," Emirates President Tim Clark told reporters on Tuesday at the Dubai Airshow.
An anticipated order for A380 superjumbos worth $16 billion failed to materialise at the last moment on Sunday, forcing Emirates and Airbus into further talks to finalise a deal.
Clark declined to speculate when a deal might be reached, but hinted on Monday it could be a matter of weeks or months.
Airbus Chief Executive Tom Enders left the air show on Monday, though sales chief John Leahy remained at the event in an effort to catch up on negotiations delayed by urgent talks prompted by the unexpected suspension of the A380 deal.
Clark suggested that either Emirates or discount carrier flydubai, which is also owned by the Dubai government, could be interested in a mid-sized jet that Boeing is considering developing.
"Whether it is in flydubai ... or in Emirates, with the carriers working far closer than they have been for a long time, would it fit Yes, I think possibly in certain routes," Clark said.
Designed to reduce drag by shaving cargo space in the belly while carrying 225-275 passengers, the proposed jet would not work on routes where Emirates carries significant cargo.
But Clark said the aerospace industry would welcome the new plane.
"I can see a place for it in Europe. I can see a place in transcontinental USA and Asia," he said, adding it would suit markets with congested airports but relatively low freight traffic, where airlines may not be willing to bet on a traditional twin-aisle jet sitting more than 250 people.
"Looking at it from an industry point of view, I think there is scope for that," he said.
Clark, 67, an influential figure in the airline industry who was knighted by his native Britain in 2014, deflected questions about whether he planned to retire, saying "I am still here".
But he said his eventual succession at Emirates would be assured and that the airline had a strong executive team.
(Reporting by Tim Hepher; Writing by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Tom Arnold) ((Tim.Hepher@thomsonreuters.com;))