Oh the joys of being Airbus – fail to make your big plane anywhere near on time, stuff your customers business plans around for years and then still pick up more orders for the thing. Or maybe not.
The local papers are full of Qantas following Singapore Airlines’ lead in ordering more A380s. That might say something about the airlines’ need to keep the European competitor viable to avoid a Boeing monopoly on large planes.
While Qantas and Singapore are strapping in for more, Airbus has just hit severe turbulence from Emirates which may have killed Airbus’s A340 plan by scrapping its US$4 billion order for the plane, according to The Times.
And Emirates also seems to be taking a much harder line over the A380, none to happy to discover the plane is 5.5 tonnes overweight as well as late. The Dubai airline is doing its own audit of the Airbus factory – which doesn’t sound like a very trusting relationship.
Qantas is saying it always planned to buy more than the original order of 12 A380s, but CEO Geoff Dixon is coy about how much he’s paying for the extra eight. Which leaves one still wondering just how Airbus will really settle up that nine-figure profit item in Qantas’s results for liquidated damages.
Funnily enough, there was no mention of any such “profit” in Singapore Airlines results released on Friday. Maybe they have different accountants, or a more usual sort of contract with Airbus that deals in discounts rather than apparent cash payments.
Airbus still needs many, many more airlines to order their jumbo before it has a chance of breaking even on the thing. The big worry is that any further delay might turn the A380 into another Concorde – a plane no-one else much wants.