BERLIN—Emirates would order up to 200 Airbus A380neos if Airbus decided to launch the updated version of the aircraft, its top executive says.

“We would replace our old fleet and need to take more for growth,” Emirates Airline President Tim Clark told an audience at the German Council on Foreign Relations here. That requirement would lead Emirates to an additional order for 100-200 aircraft. The airline currently has firm orders for 140 A380s in place, 58 of which have been delivered.

Clark predicts a 10-13% unit cost improvement for the yet-to-be-launched A380neo compared with the current aircraft. He believes that new engines would bring a 10% reduction in fuel burn, and there would be aerodynamic improvements as well as cabin-weight reductions. Emirates is looking at replacing the current economy class seats with next generation seats that are 30% lighter. That alone would take three metric tons of weight out of the aircraft. Emirates operating the A380neo would lead to a “step change in the bottom line” of the company.

Separately, the recent attack by Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and United Airlines on the Gulf carriers over alleged state subsidies is causing “commercial and brand damage” to Emirates, Clark conceded. “The least you could do is say what the problem is,” he added, referring to the fact that the study submitted to U.S. government officials, Senate and Congress members, is confidential. “We will respond robustly, but there is no case to answer. I just want the truth to come out.”

But Clark claims there is overwhelming support for the Emirates case elsewhere. “When our friends in the U.S. launched their attacks, the social networks went into nuclear mode,” he said.