When Airbus set about turning the A3XX into reality as the A380, it set itself the target of raising up to 40% of the €98.1 billion ($10.7 billion) development costs through risk-sharing partners. It was also vital that the government-funded part of the programme complied with the 1992 US/European Commission large aircraft agreement on launch aid - that it did not exceed 33% of the total development costs.

Airbus says $3.1 billion of the programme will be covered by risk-sharing partners and equipment suppliers. The latter includes participants that are assuming non-recurring infrastructure and tooling costs but are not full revenue-sharing partners. A further $2.5 billion is being loaned from the French, German, UK and Spanish governments. The remaining $5.1 billion is being financed by Airbus.

"We have framework agreements in place with 10 leading industrial companies acting as risk-sharing partners," says A380 programme executive vice-president Charles Champion, adding that 98% of suppliers have been selected, representing over $2 billion of the $2.1 billion target.

Airbus has sourced 96% of the A380's equipment, with vendors split equally between Europe and the USA - excluding the engines.

Airbus's publicly stated break-even target is 250 aircraft. The company is cagey about its expected total output, saying only that it expects to capture around 50% of its forecast market for 1,300 aircraft over the next 20 years. GKN, which is building flap-track beams, has assumed that 600 aircraft will be built. Subcontractor EADS Military Aircraft says its contract with Airbus assumes a total output of 768 A380s through to 2022.

Source: Flight International