Airbus will deliver just two more A380s this year than in 2008 after revealing plans to scale back production in the wake of the impact of the downturn on demand. It has also warned that the current tough trading conditions could require further changes.

The airframer says A380 deliveries in 2009 have been cut from 18 to 14 due to "the current economic and aviation crisis and specific customer requests for deferrals".

This revision is the second to be announced for A380 production this year, with the airframer having reduced its earlier 2009 forecast of 21 aircraft to 18 in January. Overall it represents at least the sixth change since the original plan before the 2005 first flight, when 2009 production was expected to have ramped up to 45 aircraft (see graphic).

More changes could follow, warns Airbus, which has committed only to delivering "more than 20" in 2010. "Onward production rates and deliveries are dependent on airline demand and availability of customer financing," it says.

How the A380's 2009 production plans has evolved

Of the 18 A380s originally due for delivery this year, all but one (for Air France) were destined for existing customers Emirates, Qantas and Singapore Airlines. Of these, only Qantas has so far announced plans to defer A380s, which revealed in April that it was pushing back four A380s by 10-12 months. The change is believed to have affected 2009-10 deliveries.

Airbus, which delivered one A380 in 2007 and 12 last year, has shipped just one so far in 2009. This was the fifth A380 for Emirates, which was handed over on 24 April.

"Mitigating actions" will be taken against the "negative effects" of the revised production plan on cashflow, says Airbus. Although the deferral of four A380s represents a deficit of $1.3 billion in revenue at current list prices, Airbus says there will be "no significant impact".

Source: Flight International