Airbus confirms further A380 delay

Planned deliveries of superjumbo jets are almost two years behind schedule.

    The double-decker superjumbos can carry
    up to 853 people [EPA]
    Airbus said in a statement earlier it would now only deliver 12 of the aircraft in 2008 instead of the 13 forecast, and 21 in 2009 instead of the 25 it had expected.
    The delays have cost Airbus and parent company EADS an estimated $6bn.
    Shares in the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company in late-day Paris trade were showing a loss of 0.25 per cent at 15.70 euros on a generally stronger market.
    Airbus is in the throes of massive restructuring intended to cut 10,000 jobs, although last week plans to dispose of some production facilities went awry.
    Airbus would not put a figure on the financial losses caused by the new delays but Singapore Airlines (SIA), a client and the first carrier to take delivery of an A380, said they could have an impact on its operations.
    The airline said it was waiting to hear from Airbus about the latest setback.
    The carrier has already received four of the 19 planes ordered and a fifth is expected to be delivered by early July, an SIA spokesman said.
    "Beyond these aircraft, the changes in production schedules will potentially have some impact, the details of which we will need to understand from Airbus," the spokesman said.
    "We have seen the announcement from Airbus and are now waiting to hear from them in detail about what the changes to their production schedule mean for deliveries of our aircraft down the line."
    The double-decker plane can carry up to 853 people but Singapore Airlines restricts seating to 471 passengers.
    Technical challenges
    Both Airbus and its US rival Boeing have now announced that they cannot keep to their schedules for their star products, the A380 and the 787 Dreamliner, as they grapple with the complex technical challenges involved.
    Airbus said it would be discussing a new delivery schedule with customers in the coming months.
    The last delivery schedule was established in 2006.
    "Overall, the recovery programme, initiated in summer 2006, is progressing well," Airbus said.
    "However, the review has also shown that the steep ramp-up planned in 2006 is not fully achievable.
    "The results of this review do not, at this stage, cover the financial impact. The extent of the additional costs will be influenced by the actual production and delivery scenario."
    Fabrice Bregier, the head of Airbus France, insisted that the company's current situation bore no relation to the "crisis" circumstances of 18 months ago when it was grappling with earlier production difficulties.
    "We are not in the crisis situation of 18 months ago," Bregier said.
    He said the current problems were connected with the transition from an initial phase of individualised production to a second phase, when production is carried out in series.
    "We are going to move into this second phase but with a delay of two to three months."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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