Airbus faces claims for compensation

  • Business
  • Thursday, 02 Jun 2005

HONG KONG: Airbus SAS, the world’s biggest maker of commercial aircraft, faces compensation demands from Singapore Airlines Ltd and Qantas Airways Ltd because of a six-month delay in delivering its new A380 aircraft. 

SIA, slated to be the first carrier to fly the A380, may seek recompense after delivery of the jets was pushed back to the fourth quarter of 2006, chief executive Chew Choon Seng said in Kyoto, Japan. 

Qantas, Australia’s biggest airline, said it would seek compensation, with delivery postponed to April 2007. 

SIA, with 10 firm orders for the A380 and options for 15 more, was told by Airbus chief operating officer John Leahy that delivery would be late because it had underestimated the engineering complexities of the aircraft. 

The delays, blamed on complications in fitting out the world’s largest commercial aircraft, is a blow for Toulouse, France-based Airbus, which is counting on the 555-seat A380 to maintain its sales lead over Boeing Co. Airbus has 144 firm orders for the A380, worth US$40.3bil at the list price of US$280mil each. 

An A380 seen prior to landing in Toulouse after its second test flight. - AFPpic

“It could be more of an issue at Airbus” than at SIA, said Chris Sanda, an analyst at DBS Vickers Securities in Singapore. “The dynamics of the airline business won’t be drastically changed because of the delay in the A380.” 

An Airbus spokeswoman said in Paris that deliveries of aircraft to customers would be pushed back by two to six months. 

“We are in the process of reviewing the entire schedule. We are informing all our clients,” she said. “The delay could be between two to six months depending on each situation.” 

But not all airlines face a delivery delay for the A380. Deutsche Lufthansa AG, scheduled to start receiving its fifteen A380s at the end of 2007, is not expecting a postponement because it is not one of the first customers of the aircraft, chief executive Wolfgang Mayrhuber said in Kyoto. 

Malaysia Airlines, with six A380 aircraft on order, said it had no been informed of any delivery delays. “It’s still status quo,” said spokeswoman Jackie Christie. “Until advised otherwise, we’ll still take it as the date stated” at April 2007, she said. – Agencies  

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