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Airbus A380 Busts Development Budget

Costs of developing the new super-jumbo jet near 20% higher than original estimates

The project to design and fly the largest airliner in the civil aviation world has so far gone over budget. EADS' A380 program has so far cost $1.9 billion over the original estimate of $10.7 billion, said Rainer Hertrich, co-chairman of EADS.

At a meeting of business journalists in Munich, the company made the announcement. Hertrich admitted that the cost overruns were "indeed hefty." The overruns are not, however, expected to affect the aircraft's profitability.

The additional costs are resulting from having to spend additional time to bring the aircraft's weight in line with original estimates, and with the work required to keep the project on schedule for a March 2005 first flight.

The efforts have paid off, according to Hertrich who pointed out that the project is "completely on schedule" for a first prototype roll out on January 18, 2005.

The double-decker A380 is expected to enter service in 2006 and its order book currently stands at some 140 firm orders and options.

FMI: www.airbus.com

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