Airbus is to unveil a major rework of A380 production in the coming weeks as it looks to tackle ongoing hold-ups in the programme. The revelation was made by Airbus boss Tom Enders as he confirmed that the airframer is likely to deliver fewer of the superjumbos this year than last.
Enders says that Airbus's ongoing industrial and financial review of A380 production is an "improvement initiative to further cut production lead times" because it is still taking too long to produce and deliver the aircraft.
"It is an ongoing exercise but I think we'll be clear what the improvement potential is going forward within weeks," he says, adding that the next goal is to ramp output up to a rate of two aircraft a month.
The A380's production "hiccups" mean that the airframer is likely to miss the already-revised 2009 delivery plan. Airbus had been aiming to deliver 13 A380s this year - a target that has been revised down several times from 18 - but Enders says that "two or three" may slip into January 2010. This would push 2009 A380s deliveries below the 12 aircraft delivered last year.
Meanwhile, Enders has warned that it may miss its 2009 orders target and does not rule out production cuts next year. "The target for 2009 is still 300 new ordersbut we're lagging a little bit behind. If we end up somewhere between 200 and 300 that is not a catastrophe," he says.
Enders confirms that with just over a month to go, Airbus is set to repeat - or even beat - its 2008 output record of over 480 deliveries, which was an "all-time high".
As regards 2010 production, Enders says it possible that it could be cut, "especially on single-aisle", but points out that it is also "possible there won't be a cut".