Airbus has disclosed that it sought help from maintenance firm Lufthansa Technik to ensure that it could meet the delivery schedule for Lufthansa's first A380 aircraft.

The aircraft was formally handed over to the airline on 19 May after delays in its production.

Speaking after the transfer ceremony at the airframer's Hamburg delivery centre, Airbus chief executive Tom Enders said the manufacturer was "under real pressure" at the end of last year.

He says the company "asked for support" from Lufthansa Technik in dealing with specific areas, relating to cabin furnishing.

"[Lufthansa Technik] sent about 30-40 people," Enders adds.

EADS stated earlier this month that it was aiming to be close to break-even on the A380 programme within five years.

Enders simply states: "I've said before that it will take a while before the programme turns positive."

The cost of delivering the first A380s was "enormous", he says, because of the amount of outstanding work on fuselage sections being delivered to the final assembly line, and even on 'green' airframes being delivered to the Hamburg finishing centre.

But Enders says that the number of German personnel brought over to work in Toulouse - which he describes as a rough indicator of the degree to which production is stabilising - has fallen from around 2,000 two years ago to around 700.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news