Most early A380 customers are facing a delay of one to two years for their first delivery, and are now scrambling to work out how they will cover the capacity shortfall.

Launch operator Singapore Airlines (SIA) had originally been due to take its first A380 in the second quarter of this year, and more recently at the end of 2006 – a target that has been central to its marketing campaign. It will now receive its first aircraft in October 2007.

A380 Early Customers

The airline, which has 10 A380s on firm order (plus a firm commitment for another nine), says that “the delays are disappointing”, adding that it is “assessing the impact on forward capacity growth, and assessing options to mitigate the situation”. Qantas, which will be the second A380 operator, says it is disappointed with the latest delay, which pushes first deliveries back almost two years to August 2008.

A380 Not Any more 
 Not any more

“We expect to have four aircraft by the end of 2008 and seven by mid-2009,” says Peter Gregg, Qantas chief financial officer. The airline has already received A$104 million ($78 million) in damages from Airbus for the original delivery delay and is likely to seek further compensation.

Air France, which will be the fourth customer to receive its A380s (following Emirates) in spring 2009, says the delay will “not have any incidence on our growth strategy”. Lufthansa has suffered a one-year delay to summer 2009 and says its recent order for five A330s for delivery in early 2008 will compensate for the short-term capacity shortfall.

Virgin Atlantic – which has not yet disclosed the impact on its six orders – is due to discuss the A380 situation at a board meeting this week. Qatar Airways is not expected to see any A380 deliveries before the end of 2010.

 A380 Later

Source: Flight International