Emirates, the largest customer for Airbus' new superjumbo A380 jet, said yesterday it is seeking damages from the European plane maker because...

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Emirates, the largest customer for Airbus’ new superjumbo A380 jet, said yesterday it is seeking damages from the European plane maker because of a six-month delay in delivering the aircraft.

Airbus Chief Executive Noël Forgeard visited Dubai, United Arab Emirates over the weekend to explain the delay to the airline, which has ordered 45 jets worth $7 billion, Emirates’ spokesman Mike Simon said.

“Certain clauses in our agreement with Airbus come into being that are of a compensatory nature because of the delay,” Simon said in an interview, declining to be more specific.

The delays are a blow to the Toulouse, France, plane maker. It is counting on the A380 to maintain its sales lead over Boeing, which has won orders for its new 787 jet from longtime Airbus customers.

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The A380, which can carry 555 passengers, will be the world’s biggest passenger plane when it enters service.

Emirates will get its first jet in April 2007 rather than October 2006, because of the delay for “technical reasons,” Simon said. “Obviously, we’re not too happy as we’ve had to change our scheduling program.”

Qantas, Australia’s biggest airline, already has said it will seek damages from Airbus for the delay.

Singapore Airlines, which will be the first to fly the A380, may do likewise, Chief Executive Chew Choon Seng said June 1.