Airbus expects it will take “a couple of years” to eliminate the backlog of delays to A380 deliveries as it clarifies the reasons behind last month’s decision to push back the production schedule for the ultra-large aircraft by up to six months.

Confirming that deliveries have slipped by “between two and six months”, Airbus chief executive Noel Forgeard blames the delay on the programme’s “very tight” schedule: “We knew full well that this would be hard to match…maybe we’ve been a little bold in making public our internal target without buffers,” he says.

The delay varies, “depending on the individual situation of each customer, who we are in the process of informing”, says Forgeard, adding: “The objective remains to deliver the first aircraft to launch operator Singapore Airlines in the latter part of 2006.”

Airbus chief operating officer Gustav Humbert says that “the first couple of years of deliveries will be impacted” and attributes the delay to two main problems – the weight-saving effort and electrical wiring. “We had a major weight-watcher programme, which meant that we had to reconstruct some parts of the structure,” he says, adding that this effort has been completed and “fully achieved its target”.

Humbert says that there are “more varieties of cable looms and systems as customers have specified more complex cabins than anticipated. This will be under control in the next two months as we now have the definitions of the first customers.”

He adds that the problems are not related to any specific “country or a team” within the Airbus organisation.

Source: Flight International