A380 production to slow but Airbus confident of 2012 target

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Airbus is to ease its production rate for the A380 in order to resolve the wing manufacturing issues which have resulted in the global fleet being checked for cracks in rib support brackets.

While the delivery target of 30 aircraft for 2012 is still achievable - mainly because most of these aircraft have already passed the Station 40 assembly point by which the airframer measures its production rate - Airbus is yet to assess any possible effect on 2013 deliveries.

New customers for the aircraft this year include Malaysia Airlines and Thai Airways but British Airways and Qatar Airways are among carriers scheduled to receive A380s in 2013.

The production rate currently stands at around 2.7 per month but Airbus is to ease this back to 2.3 over the next few weeks, and aims to recover the rate to its present level in the fourth quarter.

Airbus, which said earlier this year that it aimed to produce 30 A380s this year, states that it is "sticking" to this target, and is confident of reaching it.

Over the first quarter the airframer delivered four A380s: two to Singapore Airlines, and one apiece to Emirates and China Southern Airlines.

The airframer had intended A380 production this year to approach three per month. With the production rate slowing until the end of the year, there remains a question over the number of aircraft which will become available in 2013.

Airbus says it is too early to establish whether deliveries might be affected, because it has production options to help mitigate possible hold-ups.