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A380 delivery delayed for six months

No specific reason for 'disappointing' set-back

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Delivery of Airbus's A380 "super-jumbo" will be delayed for up to six months, the company has confirmed. Accordingly, Qantas - due to put the beast into service in October 2006 - will not now get its hands on the joystick until April 2007. Likewise, Singapore Airlines, set be the first airline to fly A380s, will also have to wait an additional three months until the end of 2006. Compensation claims from the carriers are likely, the BBC reports.

Airbus A380 lift-off. Picture courtesy of Airbus

An Airbus spokesman told the BBC that the set-back was due to "a variety of things", adding: "In most airline programmes of this size - including those of our competitors - things can run a little later than originally planned. The plane is continuing to perform well in tests."

Quantas chief exec Geoff Dixon described the news as "disappointing, given that we have met all of Airbus' deadlines for Qantas specifications". He said his company would most likely seek compensation from Airbus under the terms of the contract between the two. Qantas has 12 A380s on order.

This unexpected glitch in the A380 programme comes not long after the much-trumpeted maiden flight of the aircraft on 27 April. At the roll-out ceremony in January, Jacques Chirac enthusiastically called the A380 the "crowning achievement of a human and industrial adventure". ®

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