Airbus: A380 deliveries will push into second-half

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Airbus expects that most of the A380 deliveries this year will take place in the second half, as the manufacturer assesses the effects of last November's Qantas engine failure incident.

Speaking at Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, executive vice-president for programmes Tom Williams said the airframer had removed Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines out of the production line "to keep the fleet flying".

He says the aircraft in the final assembly line are "short of engines" and that the matter is "still an issue", but adds that the problems are "well understood" and that there is a "solution in place" regarding the Trent 900's bearing housing module.

"We're a little bit guarded over what that may mean for this year," he says, but says Airbus will have greater clarity by around May-June.

Chief executive Tom Enders says that the airframer is assuming "significant backloading", and that 60% of 2011 deliveries will take place in the second half of the year.

Enders says Airbus is taking a "customer first" approach to the problem, ensuring support for in-service Trent-powered A380s. "That's been the priority," he says.

Williams adds, however, that Airbus does not expect the disruption costs to be significant.

Airbus aims to deliver 20-25 A380s in 2011, producing the type at over two per month before increasing to three per month in 2012.