By Max Kingsley-Jones in Toulouse
The Airbus A380 is facing another serious programme delay, but first delivery to launch operator Singapore Airlines (SIA) is still expected by the end of the year.
Airbus says the delay has been caused by “production ramp-up problems”. It is not expected to impact certification, which is due in the fourth quarter for the handover of the first aircraft to SIA before year end, but will see deliveries of subsequent aircraft slip by “six to seven months”, says Airbus. The programme has already suffered one six month delay, which was announced a year ago and pushed the delivery of the initial Rolls-Royce Trent 900-powered version to SIA back from April to the end of this year.
Other early customers affected by the new delay include Qantas and the lead Engine Alliance-powered A380 operator Emirates, both of whom were due to take their first aircraft early in the second quarter of 2007.
Airbus says the knock-on effect of the slip will be felt on the delivery schedule for production through 2007, 2008 and 2009.