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Airbus announces new delays to A380 programme

PARIS, May 13 – European aviation giant Airbus on Tuesday announced more delays to the delivery of its giant A380 superjumbos, saying the current schedule was not one it could meet.

The company would be able to deliver 12 of the aircraft in 2008 instead of the 13 previously announced, and 21 in 2009 instead of the 25 it had earlier said it could manage, a statement said.

A review that led to the revised schedule did not cover financial costs, said the statement from parent company and aerospace giant EADS.

"The extent of the additional costs will be influenced by the actual production and delivery scenario," it said.
The company would be discussing the new schedule with its customers in the coming months, the statement added.

A380 launch customer Singapore Airlines (SIA), which already has four of the aircraft and is awaiting a fifth in July, said Tuesday fresh delays could have an impact on its operations.

"Beyond these aircraft, the changes in production schedules will potentially have some impact, the details of which we will need to understand from Airbus," an SIA spokesman said.

SIA has ordered 19 A380 aircraft in all and took delivery of the first in October, some 18 months late after earlier technical problems held up production and led to a dramatic restructuring and cost-cutting programme at Airbus.

"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," SIA said.

SIA launched the first commercial A380 flight from Singapore to Sydney in October, followed by services to

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London. A380 flights to Tokyo are to begin on May 20.

The double-decker plane can carry 853 people.

The Airbus announcement confirms last week\’s report in the German business magazine Wirtschafts-Woche which said Airbus faced more production delays on the A380 super jumbo, the world\’s largest passenger aircraft.

EADS shares fell sharply in the wake of that story.

The report said quality problems on components, and airline interior design requirements — which make production more complex — were causing difficulties.

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