Airbus has confirmed it's cutting the number of A380s due to be delivered in 2008 and 2009 - from 13 to 12 and 25 to 21, respectively.
The company explains: "Airbus has completed the A380 programme review and is now informing customers about changes to its delivery schedule. The review assessed the programme status at the critical juncture of transitioning from low rate 'individual' production, so-called Wave 1, to the full serial design and manufacturing process, called Wave 2.
"Overall, the recovery programme, initiated in summer 2006, is progressing well. Four aircraft were delivered as planned and are performing very well in airline operations on long-range routes. Seventeen aircraft are in various stages of production, mainly in the wiring installation and system testing phases. Most aircraft earmarked for delivery in 2008 have already flown.
"However, the review has also shown that the steep ramp-up planned in 2006 is not fully achievable. Time and resources needed for Wave 1 production aircraft are higher than expected, and this has created some delay in the changeover to Wave 2 with its new design and manufacturing process."
Quite how expectant airlines will take the news remains to be seen. Airbus currently has total orders of 192 for the A380, with just four delivered and operational with Singapore Airlines. Among those eager to get their hands on the controls are Emirates (58 orders), Qantas (20), British Airways (12) and Virgin Atlantic (6).
Airbus adds: "Details about the new plan and the further ramp-up and delivery slots in 2010 and the following years will be discussed with customers in the coming weeks."
Regarding the financial implications of the knock-back, the company concludes: "The results of this review do not, at this stage, cover the financial impact. The extent of the additional costs will be influenced by the actual production and delivery scenario. This will follow discussions with the customers and a more precise evaluation of the implications of the new delivery schedule for 2010 deliveries and beyond. This will therefore take some more time to determine." ®