Emirates (EK, Dubai Int'l) President Tim Clark says the carrier will exercise options for 16 additional A380-800s, announced as part of a firm order for twenty of the type in February this year.

“We will exercise them sooner rather than later,” he was quoted by Reuters in Hamburg last week.

According to Clark, Emirates is still evaluating potential engine manufacturers for the twenty firm aircraft, due to arrive from 2020 onwards.

Commenting on the carrier's summer network plans, Clark confirmed Emirates was facing a temporary shortage of flight crews. As a result of a pilot shortfall of "about 100 to 150 pilots", Emirates has been forced to reduce frequencies on some routes to Fort Lauderdale Int'l and Orlando Int'l in Florida in the United States this summer, Clark said. However, he added that the skills shortage was only temporary given Emirates has 170 pilots going through its cadetship programme.

Clark also said that Emirates is “looking at all sorts of areas” to work with Etihad Airways (EY, Abu Dhabi Int'l) following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Emirates Group Security and Etihad Aviation Group (EAG) in January this year. Under the deal, Emirates Group Security has extended its security training and education programmes to Etihad Airways and will support the Abu Dhabi-based airline in the development of its own security escort capability.

In the longer term, Emirates Group Security will also share the content and structure of its extensive security development curriculum and work with Etihad Aviation Group in setting up a structured in-house security education programme with possible university level accreditation.

In a related development, Emirates has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board in India for projects and cooperation valued at INR30 billion Indian rupees (USD460 million).

A statement from the Chief Minister's Office said the MoU also included a discussion on setting up a Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) centre, an aviation training centre and a manufacturing unit of in-flight consumables.