a380-emiratesDUBAI – Another five-month delay in the the delivery of Airbus A380s is expected to hit growth at Emirates in 2010, the airline’s president Tim Clark said, UAE daily Gulf News reported on Wednesday.

“Some of our route expansion plans will be impacted due to a further delay in the delivery of A380s. We wanted to put them back on the New York route, but that will be delayed by at least six months,” he said at the World Travel Market expo, the newspaper reported.

He said Emirates, the Middle East’s largest carrier, will have 15 A380s by the end of 2010 instead of a planned 20.

“However, despite this, we are projected to take (delivery) of 22 aircraft worth $3 billion within this financial year.”

Emirates said in September it expects to redeploy the A380, the world’s biggest passenger aircraft, on its New York route in the first half of next year as travel demand picks up.

It had replaced the double-decker aircraft with a smaller Boeing plane in June, less than a year after launching its first A380 on the New York route, citing weak travel in the economic downturn.

Clark also told the World Travel Market the airline could beat full-year forecasts.

“When the crisis hit, we started taking stock of the situation. Although we maintain a lean operation, we discovered space where we could save costs,” he said.

“From our suppliers, we saved some 400 million dirhams and maximised efficiencies across the airline … In addition to these cost-cutting measures, we were greeted by a drastic fall in oil prices. However, for the full year we expect to beat forecasts and could make more than 20 percent growth in profits.”