New production plan discussed with launch customers but manufacturer still committed to first delivery next year

Airbus is this week holding talks with the first A380 operators about rescheduling deliveries because of a slip in the flight-test programme and delays in finalising cabin configurations.

Until the first flight last month, Airbus had officially been aiming to deliver the first A380 to launch customer Singapore Airlines (SIA) in the "second quarter of 2006", but this target has now slipped to the second half of the year.

Conceding there will be a "moderate delay" to the A380 delivery schedule, Airbus executive vice-president operations Gerard Blanc says: "Our target remains to deliver the first aircraft in 2006."

Blanc adds that Airbus willprovide an update of the revised production plan "after we have spoken to our customers" this week. He adds that Airbus is likely to make the rescheduling public at or before next month's Paris air show.

Talks have begun with the first three customers – SIA, Qantas and Emirates – all of which are currently scheduled to take A380s next year. Airbus teams have been dispatched to each airline to discuss the revised delivery sequence, with slips believed to have been partly driven by the fact that some carriers are more advanced with finalising cabin configurations than others.

The revamp will almost certainly see the gap close between the handovers of the first Rolls-Royce and Engine Alliance-powered aircraft. A gap of several months had previously been planned as the R-R version is the lead A380 engine.


Source: Flight International