EADS chief sees one-off drop in A380 deliveries next year


Airbus expects a drop in deliveries of its A380 superjumbo in 2013 as it introduces a fix to recent wing cracks, said the chief executive of parent EADS.

EADS has maintained a forecast for 30 A380 deliveries in 2012 but faces reluctance among some customers to take aircraft with an interim wing repair that it has devised until a definitive solution becomes available in 2014.

Qatar Airways has said it would rather wait until the all-new aircraft is available rather than have to return the double-decker for final repairs once it has already entered service, Reuters reports.
“We do expect that the hiccup with the wing cracks and the solutions will impact deliveries and I do expect that we will not reach 30 deliveries next year,” EADS Chief Executive Tom Enders told reporters.
“Obviously we have a challenge dealing with the wing cracks and with customers and that will result in a temporary – temporary – delivery doubt. But we know how to fix the problem and it’s well under way.”

EADS is progressively taking charges for the A380 cracks but a drop in deliveries would add a cash impact as airlines pay for most of the jet at delivery. The A380 sells for $390 million at list prices but most airlines receive significant discounts.

Enders also questioned whether Airbus would reach a separate objective of selling 30 A380s in 2012, throwing his weight behind sales chief John Leahy who cast doubt on the target at the Farnborough Airshow . Airbus later reiterated the target.
“I share the slight doubts that John expressed in Farnborough about achieving the 30 new orders this year, but I am quite sure there is more potential in the coming years,” Enders said.
“Let’s be honest: We have a problem with the A380 with the wings. Obviously, some airlines who would have put in an order this year are tempted to wait a little longer.”

Enders said Airbus expected to have European safety authority approval for its proposed solution to the cracked rib feet or brackets inside the A380’s wings within weeks.