Airbus, which said in April that the first delivery of its A380 "superjumbo" would be delayed, admitted today that deliveries to other early customers will also be pushed back by up to six months.

Share story

PARIS — Airbus, which said in April that the first delivery of its A380 “superjumbo” would be delayed, admitted today that deliveries to other early customers will also be pushed back by up to six months. Qantas said it will seek compensation for the lag.

“We’ve now spoken to A380 customers and told them how they will be affected,” Airbus spokesman David Velupillai said. “The delays range from 2-6 months depending on the customer.”

Velupillai was speaking after Air France confirmed it will be forced to postpone the planned April 2007 launch of A380 services.

“Airbus has advised us that there will be a delivery delay,” said a Paris-based spokesman for Air France-KLM, which groups the merged French and Dutch carriers. He declined to say how long the delay would be or whether Air France will seek compensation.

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

On April 27, the day of the A380’s first test flight, Airbus had announced that deliveries to launch customer Singapore Airlines Ltd. would take place in the “second half of 2006” instead of March, as originally planned.

Now, however, a string of customers including Australia’s Qantas Airways Ltd. say they will also be affected as the delays have a domino effect on Airbus production schedules.

Qantas said today that the first of its 12 new A380s will arrive six months late because of “manufacturing issues,” and confirmed it will be seeking compensation.

“This is disappointing, given that we have met all of Airbus’ deadlines for Qantas specifications,” said CEO Geoff Dixon. All airlines with early A380 orders are going to have to wait, he added.

Singapore Airlines CEO Chew Choon Seng has also said the carrier plans to demand compensation.

Airbus declined to comment on its exposure to claims, insisting that the terms of its contracts with customers remain confidential. But it played down their potential impact on the program’s profitability.

In any aircraft program, Velupillai said, “deliveries begin slowly in the early years and pick up pace later on, so the effects will be limited.”