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Airbus A380 - big plane, big risks, big crisis


Airbus A380 - big plane, big risks, big crisis


The latest delays to the Airbus A 380 superjumbo have angered the airlines that are buying it and further dented the plane maker’s reputation. At Airbus’ massive facility in Toulouse, France, the task of assembling the most complex passenger jet ever built has proved more difficult than predicted, particularly the complicated wiring looms. Deliveries will now be two year later than the original date.

An extra 2.8 billion euros will be wiped off Airbus’ profits over the next four years, on top of the two billion announced in June. In response it plans cost and job cuts and increased productivity. Chief Executive Christian Streiff said: “We are now looking beyond those immediate measures to the fundamental industrial structure of Airbus, how it can be improved and what is to become of the companies’ factories in the next 10 years.”

The airlines are losing confidence. Emirates has signalled that it might cancel part of its order for 45 planes – 43 from Airbus and two from a leasing company. Singapore, due to get the first A380s, should now receive them 20 months late in October next year. Australia’s Qantas has been told its first plane will be delivered in August 2008, two years behind schedule.

Streiff said the reactions from the airlines had been very positive: “We at Airbus has been very open with them telling them what we have found, what we’ve done in the last three months, what we’re doing now and what we intend to do in the months ahead. Analysts said the delays would have little impact on the airlines’ earnings. Any losses would be offset by the compensation they will receive from Airbus.

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