No Word Yet On Delivery Timeframe, Added Costs
The rumors are true -- for the second time in less than three
months, European planemaker Airbus SAS has announced a delay for
its new A380 superjumbo.
Bloomberg reports wiring issues have gotten the best of the
planemaker... 300 miles of wiring to be exact. Airbus promised
customers it could customize entertainment systems for each
aircraft -- which adds to the complexity of building each plane, as
different wiring has to be preinstalled in each plane for its
"I'm not surprised that the plane is once again delayed, given
the complexity of the electrical-harness system," said Exane BNP
Paribas analyst Olivier Esnou. "The real question is, how much more
in penalties and cost overruns will Airbus have to incur?"
Airbus parent company
EADS issued a statement saying it "does not confirm nor deny
specific information reported by various media relating to the A380
program because the review of the program is not completed
EADS did acknowledge, however, "continuing industrialization
challenges with the wiring of production aircraft have been
identified and are being tackled... Consequently, from what is
known today, there will be further delays."
Along with the delay, EADS says it hasn't determined the
financial impact of the delay... hinting at a cost increase. Also
up in the air, so to speak, is how the delay will affect scheduled
deliveries of the airliner to customers... deliveries that have
already been delayed by at least six months.
This announcement follows a string of bad news for Airbus. As reported in Aero-News,
earlier this year EADS co-CEO Noel Forgeard was replaced when he
shocked the industry by selling his company stock just before news
broke of an earlier delay in the A380. EADS also axed Airbus CEO
Earlier this month, BAE Systems sold its 20-percent stake in
Airbus back to EADS -- at a significantly lower price than
originally quoted. At that time, company CEO Mike Turner also
hinted at further delays with the A380... possibly giving BAE a
reason to get out while the getting was good.
Add to the mix Airbus' sound thrashing by Boeing in this year's
sales race... by a margin of four-to-one for the first half of the
year -- and it looks as though Airbus may be eating humble pie for
some time to come.
"Customers are certainly going to be upset by this," said Nick
Fothergill, head of industrial sales and trading at Lehman Brothers
"They may want more compensation. This is one of imponderables as
to how much."