For many at Airbus it may have seemed the day when they would finally deliver the A380 would never come. The aircraft’s problems were legion, starting with manufacturing difficulties that led to lengthy delays. Errors in the installation of hundreds of kilometres of wiring set delivery dates back by two years.
It quickly developed into a crisis at the heart of the company, resulting in the sacking of senior management. Drastic measures were proposed in the “Power 8” recovery plan. A proposal to cut 10,000 jobs led to strikes in the countries affected. The delays had a heavy impact on the financial markets. Parent company EADS saw 26 per cent wiped off its share value by mid-2006.
Probes are underway in France and Germany into how much executives who exercised their stock options knew of the delays. The company is by no means out of the woods but will take comfort from the recently announced setbacks for the rival Boeing Dreamliner project.