Airbus might delay delivery of one or two of the 13 superjumbo A380s scheduled for this year until January 2010, the European planemaker told Reuters.
The Toulouse-based aircraft manufacturer, a unit of European defence and aerospace group EADS, also said client financing remained difficult and it would take time for the business environment to return to normal.
“We are still aiming for 13 (A380) deliveries but one or two could come in January,” Chief Operating Officer Fabrice Bregier told Reuters on the sidelines of a ceremony for the delivery of Air France-KLM’s first A380.
“Everything will depend on airlines’ capacity to take these planes at the end of the year,” he said.
Air France-KLM has ordered 12 A380s. The first one will be put into service in November on the Paris-New York route.
Airbus’s chief executive, Thomas Enders, also said last week it was “too early to relax” over customer financing and to believe it was guaranteed.
Customer financing helps airlines raise funds to order and take delivery of aircraft, but the past year’s financial crisis has put pressure on traditional sources of credit.
Enders added the overall A380 delivery rhythm in the first half of 2010 should be “similar” to the current rate.
Last month Airbus cut its A380 delivery target to 13 from 14 for 2009. As of today, it has delivered seven.
Airbus, just like Boeing, gets the bulk of payments for its aircraft on delivery. On the basis of catalogue prices, which can differ significantly from prices paid, an A380 can fetch $330 million.
However, faced with lower traffic, many airlines have been cutting capacity. Industry body IATA expects international airlines to suffer combined losses of $11 billion in 2009.
Pic: A-380 jumbo jet