Emirates to Decide on A380 Engine This Month as Rolls Seeks Role

Emirates President Tim Clark said he’ll decide this month on the engine for his latest batch of A380s as Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc bids to displace its closest rivals on the world’s largest fleet of superjumbos.

“We’re close in making a decision,” Clark told journalists today in Berlin. “By the end of this month we will let the contract.”

While the Rolls-Royce Trent 900 boasts a broader range of A380 customers, it has a smaller installed based than the Engine Alliance model from General Electric Co. and Pratt & Whitney that was chosen to power Emirates’s first 90 double-deckers.

Rolls Royce’s head of aerospace, Tony Wood, said last week that the company has a good shot at winning the contest, which presents a rare opportunity to enlarge the Trent 900 footprint as Airbus Group NV struggles to win buyers for its flagship jet.

Rolls is also the exclusive engine provider on the Airbus A350 wide-body due to be handed over to its first operator this year. Emirates canceled its order for the aircraft this year, though Clark has said he’ll revisit a possible purchase once the model has proven its efficiency in service.

“We will look at the A350 again, and then we’ll compare it to the 787-10, which didn’t exist when we bought the A350,” Clark said, referring to the biggest version of Boeing Co.’s latest Dreamliner plane.

According to Clark, Emirates will have “holes appearing in our fleet planning” after 2018, requiring a follow-up purchase of wide-body airliners, though Airbus has said the A350 is sold out until the end of the decade.

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