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Airbus A380 delayed - again

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The Airbus A380Customers eager to get their hands on the new Airbus A380 may face a further six-month delay in getting their new toy - bringing the total time they've spent twiddling their thumbs to a year.

An Airbus statement attributes the case to "to bottlenecks formed in the definition, manufacturing and installation of electrical systems and resulting harnesses". Parent company EADS has accordingly "cut delivery targets to nine from an original target of 20 to 27 in 2007", the BBC reports. Singapore Airlines will, however, take delivery of the first behemoth on schedule* "later this year".

The production bottlenecks also mean a delivery shortfall of "five to nine aircraft in 2008 and five in 2009" in the anticipated 20-25 A380s due for release in 2008, and 45 in 2009.

EADS admitted that the knock-back may cost it customers, with airlines opting to cancel orders. Alternatively, they may look for compensation, and EADS estimates annual losses of €500m between 2007 and 2010 associated with the revised delivery schedule.

The first delay in rolling out the "Superjumbo" - up to six months for some carriers - came back in June Last year, although no specific reasons were given. Airbus currently has 159 firm orders for the A380 from 16 airlines including Emirates, Qantas and Virgin Atlantic. ®

*The June 2005 revised schedule, which added three months to the original intended delivery to Singapore Airlines.

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