Electrical systems at the heart of A380 delivery slips

Toulouse
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The knock-on effect of the A380 slip will be felt on the delivery schedule for production through 2007, 2008 and 2009, and result in a delivery shortfall of between 22 and 31 aircraft (see table below).

Although Singapore Airlines is still due to receive its first aircraft before year-end, service entry has now slipped into 2007 and deliveries of the remainder of its original batch will be delayed well into next year. With Airbus expecting to deliver only nine of the 25 aircraft expected next year, the other early customers Emirates and Qantas will not receive their first aircraft until the fourth quarter of next year – at least six months late.

A380 DELIVERY CHANGES
Year
Old plan
New plan Difference
2006  
2
1
1
2007
20-25
9
11-16
2008
35
26-30
5-9
2009
45
40
5
Total
102-107
76-80
5
Note: forecast beyond 2007 is “worst-case scenario” and therefore provisional
Source: Airbu

 
T
he full impact on 2008 and 2009 deliveries is yet to be established, and Airbus says the new delivery forecast it has released for those two years is the worse-case scenario. Significantly, although deliveries to China Southern Airlines have slipped, it will still receive its first A380 in time for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

“We don’t see any impact on our delivery slots beyond 2009,” says Airbus president and chief executive Gustav Humbert.

The delay resulted from a production bottleneck created by the “huge workload” to integrate electrical systems and harnesses into the A380, says Humbert, who adds that a recovery action plan has started: “Some of the actions have now been implemented and some will be more or less defined in the next four weeks and will be effective from July.”

Didier Lux, executive vice-president of quality at Airbus, says that much of the blame lies with late specification changes for cabin equipment: “Airbus has been ‘trapped’ by late modifications. The [seats and in-flight entertainment] definition has not been frozen until very late in the process.”