It took all the resources it could reasonably muster, but Airbus managed to reach its target of delivering 12 A380 aircraft last year when on December 30 it handed over to Emirates Airline that carrier’s fourth superjumbo.
The question remained, however, had Airbus robbed Peter to pay Paul just to avoid further embarrassment or does Airbus’s ability to meet its 2008 target truly give it “a good basis to further ramp up production in 2009,” as Airbus president and CEO Tom Enders declared.
In fact, Emirates president Tim Clark has said that his airline’s fifth airplane won’t arrive until mid-April, rather than late March, and during a press briefing in Toulouse earlier this month Enders lowered the latest 2009 delivery target from 21 to 18.
So far Airbus has had to reset the A380’s calendar three times, while development costs promise to rise close to 50 percent beyond the original projections of $25 billion.
Last year Singapore Airlines took delivery of five A380s, Emirates received four and Qantas accepted three. Before the latest downward “adjustment,” Lufthansa, Air France and China Southern each expected to take their first deliveries this year.