Airbus cuts A380 goal for ’09, keeps 2010


European planemaker Airbus has confirmed it has cut its 2009 delivery target for A380s by one aircraft to 13 planes and said it was maintaining its delivery forecast for 2010.

“In agreement with a customer we have moved the 14th aircraft (for 2009) by a few weeks from December to early 2010,” spokesman Stefan Schaffrath said this morning.

“We maintain our planning to deliver more than 20 aircraft in 2010 as announced,” he added.

Shares in parent EADS fell 0.5 percent in early trading, slightly lagging other leading stocks.

Airbus is shifting into a second automated production phase for the A380 known as Wave 2. The first 25 aircraft had to be wired up manually due to industrial problems that pushed delivery of the world’s largest jetliner back by two years.

“We have just recently delivered the first Wave 2 aircraft and the second will follow very soon,” Schaffrath said, adding the production rate was heading toward two per month.

The head of parent EADS told Reuters on Monday the move to shift one A380 delivery into 2010 followed talks with the aircraft’s customer, Singapore Airlines.

EADS Chief Executive Louis Gallois also expressed concerns about the strength of the euro as EADS competes with Boeing for sales in dollars.

Meanwhile, a Singapore Airlines A380 was forced to turn round mid-flight and head back to Paris on Sunday after one of its four engines failed, the head of the airline’s French operations said.

The doubledecker A380 took off from Paris at 12.30 p.m. with 444 passengers aboard and headed for Singapore, but had to turn round after 2 hours 45 minutes because of the engine problem, airline director Jerry Seah said.

The plane landed safely back in France at 5.45 p.m. and the passengers were sent to hotels as the airline tried to lay on an alternative flight for them.

Seah told Reuters he believed it was the first time the plane had suffered such a problem since it had started operating the Singapore-Paris route earlier this year.

The giant jet, built by Airbus, is designed to continue flying with only three engines, but came back to Paris as a safety precaution.

The engines on the Singapore A380s are built by Britain‘s Rolls Royce Group.

The incident is being investigated.  

Pic: Airbus A380