Carriers Are Screaming
The Airbus A380 is going to be late... about six months late.
That's the word from the factory and it sent some of the airlines
which have already ordered the behemoth passenger jet into angry
fits. Some of them want compensation for the delay.
Airbus said it needs more time to complete modifications on the
aircraft's original design.
"The A380 delay is serious," said Richard Aboulafia, vice
president of the Teal Group, an aerospace consulting firm in
Fairfax, VA. He told the New York Times, "It might suggest a
problem with the weight of the plane, and therefore with the
economics. Lateness itself isn't a problem; performance is."
Airbus wasn't specific about the modifications needed on the
A380, but did say the aircraft is aerodynamically sound. "There has
hardly been any new airliner in history that was delivered on the
date that was set when it was launched," said spokeswoman Barbara
Kracht, also quoted by the Times.
Already, some carriers are lining up for rebates because of the
delays. "This is disappointing, given that we have met all of
Airbus' deadlines for Qantas specifications," said the Australian
airline's CEO, Geoff Dixon in an interview with the Times. His
airline would, he promised, seek "compensation from Airbus in line
with the terms of its contract."
Singapore Airlines, slated to be the first carrier to take
delivery on the super jumbo, had expected its A380 in the second
quarter of next year. Now, it appears, that delivery won't be made
until the fourth quarter of 2006.
One issue: Airbus is configuring the A380 differently for
different customers. That, said Aboulafia, is probably also a
factor in the delay.