British Airways Defers A380 Deliveries

 - July 6, 2009, 7:54 AM

British Airways has delayed delivery of its first six Airbus A380s by an average of five months and the remaining six by an average of two years, the airline confirmed in a July 3 traffic release. Although it still expects first delivery of the big jets in 2012, under the terms of the new schedule the last airplane would not arrive until 2016.

The airline cited “very challenging” market conditions “with trading at levels well below last year.” Although over the past three months traffic volume and load factors have stabilized, the airline now plans to cut capacity for the current summer period (April to October) by 3.5 percent, compared with a previously planned 2.5 percent, and reduce its number of seat miles this winter by 5 percent, compared with a previously announced 4 percent.

The airline plans to ground its remaining three mainline Boeing 757s next summer 2010 and a further three 747-400s in winter 2010. It expects the modification in its business plan to result in a reduction in capital expenditure from £725 million ($1.185 billion) to £580 million ($950 billion) during the 2009/10 fiscal year, which started in April; it said it projects a similar outlay in 2010/11.

The British Airways announcement has no effect on A380 deliveries this year or in 2010. In May, Airbus announced it had adjusted its delivery schedule for the A380 for this year to reflect a planned cut in production from 18 to 14 airplanes “due to the current economic and aviation crisis and following specific customer requests for deferrals.”