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01 June 2005

Airline News: Airbus A380 Delay Hits Qantas

While it should surprise nobody, it is now official that the massive effort to deliver the Uber Jumbo Airbus A380 is behind schedule.

The expectation of delay comes not because of any specific error or flaw on the part of Airbus, but simply because the development of any new type of aircraft, let alone one of this grand scale, tends to run into difficulties and thus some schedule slips.

The specific causes for the setback(s) are unclear. It is very apparent that this trouble is going to cost Airbus - literally:

From a Qantas Press Release Issued 1 June 2005 -

Qantas today confirmed that the delivery of its first A380 would be delayed by six months as a result of manufacturing issues at Airbus.

The Chief Executive Officer of Qantas, Mr Geoff Dixon, said the airline was now scheduled to take delivery of the first of its 12 new A380 aircraft in April 2007.

"This is disappointing, given that we have met all of Airbus' deadlines for Qantas specifications, however we are developing contingency plans to ensure there is no impact on our schedules or available capacity during the six month delay."

Mr Dixon said possible contingencies under discussion included deferring the retirement of a number of aircraft, redirecting capacity, and bringing forward the delivery of other aircraft on order.

Mr Dixon said that all airlines with early A380 orders were in the same situation, and that Airbus had advised that the deliveries would be made in the same sequence with the same time differentials.

"We will be working closely with Airbus to ensure the new deadline is met," Mr Dixon said.

He said Qantas would also be seeking compensation from Airbus in line with the terms of its contract.

Singapore Airlines has also indicated its A380 deliveries are likely to be behind schedule.

In other Airbus A380 news, Flight International Magazine says the 560 ton (max take off weight) aircraft's advanced composite wheels and related brake system are also behind schedule due to industrial issues. The first four aircraft are apparently flying with aluminum gear as a stopgap measure.

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Airline News: Aircraft: Airbus A380
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