Airbus has announced a fourth round of delays in deliveries of its A380 superjumbo. Saying it was unable to boost production as quickly as it had hoped, the planemaker now plans to deliver 12 rather than 13 aircraft this year and 21 instead of twenty five next year.
The previous delays forced Airbus to launch a major restructuring programme and union representative Françoise Valin said this puts that in doubt: “I believe that this announcement proves that restructuring plan, which involves drastic cuts, can’t go forward. It won’t work and will even put at risk other Airbus projects, which are running smoothly at the moment.”
The A380, with 192 orders outstanding, is two years behind schedule. Its rival Boeing has 892 orders for its 787 Dreamliner and has pushed back delivery dates by 15 months.
Making lighter and therefore fuel-efficient aircraft out of composite material – ultra strong plastic rather than aluminium – has proved more complicated than anticipated with problems particularly at sub-contractors.
Analysts said the delays will cost billions. Airlines are planning to ask for compensation from both Boeing and Airbus. Announcing the latest delays, Airbus gave no details on the financial impact but said it does not expect any cancellation of orders as a result.