First Lufthansa A380 deliveries pushed back to 2010

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Lufthansa will not take delivery of its first Airbus A380s this year, but insists that the delay will not affect its plans to introduce the type.

The airline, which has 15 A380s on order, had been intending to take its first towards the end of 2009.

But during a conference today at which it released its full-year financial results, Lufthansa stated that the arrival has been postponed to the "start of 2010".

"This was certainly not our decision, this was due to the production processes," says Lufthansa chief Wolfgang Mayrhuber.

Lufthansa adds, however, that the delay will have no effect on its operating plans because the type was due to be brought into service with the summer 2010 schedule.

The airline has opened a dedicated Internet site detailing its A380 operations. It has not disclosed any route network information but says it is focusing on about 20 destinations for the type.

It says the aircraft will be operated primarily on heavily-frequented routes to North America and Asia.

Lufthansa says it will configure the aircraft with first- and business-class seats on the upper deck, and economy seats on the lower. It has not given a precise seating capacity but indicates that the type will accommodate 550.

It is initially making 115 pilots available for A380 operations but says this figure will shortly rise to 400.