Emirates (EK, Dubai Int'l) will resume rapid network expansion in 2021, when it starts taking deliveries of new generation twin-engine widebody aircraft, Chief Executive Officer Tim Clark said during a company podcast Emirates World Interview.

"We were growing over the last 20 years at a rate of 14-20 per cent. At some point, it had to plateau. We have reached that kind of plateau of consolidation... [Our analysis] told us we just need to hold our breath for the time being. When we get the new twins, we will then surge forward again, serving routes that were maybe a bit too small in demand for the B777-300(ER)s," Clark said.

He added that sizeable deliveries of new generation widebodies will start in the first quarter of 2021 and will then be "ramped up" through 2025.

"In that time, you will see the network grow and flourish to many places in Africa we don't fly to, to the Middle Eastern region, Asia, the United States, and also South America," Clark said.

The deliveries of new generation widebodies to Emirates are scheduled to start in June 2020 with the first B777-9 deliveries. The schedule is, however, uncertain due to the delays, particularly related to the new General Electric GE9X engines.

Clark underlined that despite the demise of the A380-800 and the impending end of production of the quadjets, the carrier will continue to operate the type until mid-2030s. He added that while some of the older units will be retired earlier, Emirates also planned to refurbish a part of the fleet.

"At the turn of the third decade, so by the end of the 20s and early 30s, you will see the residual fleet of probably 80-90 A380s," Clark added. Currently, the Emirati carrier operates 112 A380-800s (of which two have already been grounded and will be parted out) and expects deliveries of a further 13 units following the reduction of its initial plans to take 162 quadjets from Airbus.

Emirates plans to operate over 350 aircraft by the end of the next decade. It will be more diversified than currently and consist of smaller aircraft such as the A330-900s.

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, Emirates currently operates 268 in-house aircraft. Besides the A380s, it also has one A319-100ACJ, eleven B777-Fs, ten B777-200(LR)s, and 134 B777-300(ER)s. Upcoming years will see the carrier adding B777-8s (of which it has 35 on direct order from Boeing), B777-9s (115 on order), A330-900s (commitment for forty), and A350-900s (commitment for thirty).

In November 2017, Emirates announced a memorandum of understanding for the purchase of forty B787-10s but has yet to firm it. In recent financial reports, the carrier was omitting the type in future fleet summaries. Clark said, however, that Emirates "continues to look at the B787".

"[Our fleet] will be probably erring towards the smaller twins by the mid-2030s," Clark added.

Counting together with regional sister carrier flydubai (FZ, Dubai Int'l), Emirates hopes to operate up to 450 aircraft by the mid-2030s serving roughly the same number of destinations. He added that some of flydubai's flights and possibly some of Emirates' own services will, by that time, operate from Dubai World Central.