Emirates Airline President Tim Clark believes it will take a “new breed of managers” at the top levels of major airlines to initiate stronger sales for the Airbus A380

“Risk adversity has crept into airline boards” since the early 2000s, Clark said in Berlin. And that has led many airlines to worry about their ability to fill seats, causing them to shy away from the superjumbo.

With orders for 140 A380s, Emirates has bought 44% of the entire A380 orderbook so far. The airline currently operates 53 A380s, and Clark says it has now become easy to fill them. “It is a beast of scale and size. If connecting flights deliver five passengers each, you are already half-way there,” he notes.

Clark contends the current generation of executives have climbed the ranks during a legacy era of air transport that is now history, and in which the emergence of new players from developing new markets has not yet been as visible. But, he believes that the next generation “will recognize the value of the A380. I can’t believe the Asian carriers will not buy the A380 in big numbers.” 

Clark also points to Airbus as a contributor to the A380’s lagging sales, citing the “inability of our friends in Toulouse to market it. They could do more.”

Emirates is upgrading its first- and busines-class cabins, though it will not as so far as Etihad Airways did in implementing its “Residence” offering. “We can’t afford that,” Clark said. 

Etihad is offering a private suite on the A380 that includes a living room, bedroom and bathroom. Clark added that the Etihad idea “shows what you can do with the A380,” whereas “some of our friends in this part of the world”--Europe--”transposed a DC-10 into it.”