A380 ramp-up at "critical phase": Airbus

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Airbus has described the current phase of its ramp-up in A380 production as entering a critical stage after writing to customers to clarify its current review of the programme.

A spokesman for the manufacturer says the review is standard practice for this stage of a programme ramp-up and stresses that the letter makes no mention of any changes to the delivery schedule.

Airbus has written to the airlines to update the situation after Airbus CEO Tom Enders’ recent disclosure that a major review was currently taking place.

The spokesman says the letter reiterates that the production schedule for the A380 “has been challenging and continues to be challenging”, noting it is entering a critical phase.

This refers to moving from ‘wave one’ aircraft to ‘wave two’ aircraft, which involves transitioning to an industrial manufacturing process and installing redesigned electrical harnesses in the jets.

“With any programme transitioning it is standard practice to have the review,” says the spokesman. Airbus last month passed the power-on milestone for the first of its ‘wave two’ aircraft, serial number MSN026.

Industry sources expect the review to take around two weeks. The manufacturer’s A380 production plan calls for 13 deliveries this year and 25 in 2009, with output then stabilising from 2010 at the maximum planned rate of 45 a year.