The latest delivery delays have arisen as Airbus's effort to bring the first "Wave 2" A380 (MSN026) with redesigned wiring harnesses to "power-on" status has taken around three-and-a-half months longer than expected. This aircraft should have reached this milestone in December, but it did not occur until late April.
Airbus executive vice-president of programmes Tom Williams attributes the slip to the "learning-curve effect" and the need to mobilise a team of 600 personnel - of whom 400 have been sourced externally - to handle the new digital mock-up and design techniques being employed on the aircraft. A380 programme chief Mario Heinen says that the problem was compounded by the fact that the rewiring of the "Wave 1" aircraft took longer than expected when the recovery plan was drawn up in 2006, which prevented expertise from being transferred to the Wave 2 effort. "We burnt up our contingencies," he says.
Heinen says there are 17 assembled A380s in Toulouse and Hamburg in various stages of testing. Sections for the next A380 (for Singapore Airlines) recently entered the assembly jig and subassemblies for the following aircraft are being worked on in Toulouse.