Toulouse, France: The largest commercial aircraft maker, Airbus SAS, cut its delivery schedule for the A380 superjumbo as airlines resist accepting large planes when demand for flights is depressed by the global recession.
Airbus plans to hand over 14 double-decker A380s this year, down from the 18 planes it had planned, the company said in a statement on Wednesday. Airbus intends to deliver 20 A380s next year. The reduction will have no significant impact on earnings before interest and taxes this year, it said.
Due to the current economic and aviation crisis and following specific requests for deferrals, Airbus is adapting its A380 aircraft delivery schedule, the company said. Airbus will take mitigating actions against the negative effects on cash flow, it said. Airbus is a unit of European Aeronautic, Defence and Space Co. (EADS).
Gobal international air traffic fell 11.1% in March, deepening the pace of a decline that began in September, the International Air Transport Association had said on 28 April. The global outbreak of swine flu, which began in late April, has worsened the forecast for airline traffic in the short term.
Airbus confirmed that for 2009, it still expects to deliver about the same number of planes as in 2008, when it handed over 483 aircraft. For future production, rates will depend on airline demand and availability of customer financing, it added.
Production of the A380, which has 525 seats in its most common configuration, or about 250 more than Boeing Co.’s newest model, the , is running two years late because of wiring difficulties. EADS is also struggling with delays on the A400M military transport, and has taken €1.74 billion (nearly Rs11,450 crore) in charges on that programme.
The A380’s list price is $327 million, though the earliest customers for planes get substantial discounts. In a survey of A380 customers by Bloomberg in April, airlines and one leasing firm had said they expected to take only 15 of the planes this year.
Singapore Airlines Ltd and Qantas Airways Ltd had said in April that they planned to take four A380s each this year, while Air France-KLM Group said it expected two. Emirates said then it planned to get seven A380s in the fiscal year ending 31 March 2010, equating to five deliveries in the calendar year.
Air France and Kingfisher Airlines Ltd of India are among buyers that have deferred A380 deliveries. Airbus had set a goal of 12 A380 handovers in 2008 and achieved it.