Airbus shares tumble following A380 threat
Meanwhile Qatar Airways, suffering collateral damage from the World Cup FIFA selection debacle, and a drop in traffic said it was postponing delivery of the first Airbus A350 jetliner "until further notice".
Delivery had originally been planned for mid December followed by a flight to Doha. A pre-delivery ceremony for Friday, with invitations already sent, was suddenly cancelled.
Meanwhile the A380 aircraft has been operating scheduled routes for six full years and development costs conservatively put at $25bn. The current problem surrounds the introduction of a new engine which has to be introduced within the next three years, if not able to do this, production would then stop.
Commentators, and airlines already committed to the A380 are puzzled by news, but Aviation Security & Operations expert Julian Bray says: "It could simply be a cunning ruse to unsettle and 'put the wind up' arch rival Boeing who have been running head to head with Airbus, mainly over the jinxed introduction, comprising both engine and battery failures surrounding the Dreamliner, which now seems to have been resolved with a retrofit modification cooling and venting the battery to the outside of the Dreamliner aircraft. The prospect of the Dreamliner now having to consider introducing new engines in the next few years to keep up with Airbus, might cause aircraft lease firms and prospective Dreamliner operators to think again.
The announcement prompted a furious reaction from the head of Dubai's Emirates airline, who said it was prepared to invest heavily in buying more of the aircraft.
Tim Clark, president of Emirates, said if Airbus went ahead and upgraded the A380 with new Rolls-Royce engines, Emirates would certainly cancel the 140 aircraft it had ordered, and opt for the newly upgraded version. There is not doubt the Emirates version of the A380 is well liked and flying filled to capacity. Airbus had already announced plans to cut production of its A330 aircraft by 10% to nine aircraft a month.
The hapless Airbus head of corporate communications Rainer Ohler effectively added aviation fuel to the current storm by releasing a statement which said: "The entire Airbus top management continues to believe strongly in the market prospects of the A380, but any investment by Airbus requires a sound business case, which we will continue to study" Naturally, this bald statement offered little comfort to prospective buyers, who will be spending the Christmas holiday considering their options and the possibly the AirbusPR man wondering if he will still have a job in 2015!
JULIAN BRAY 01733 345581, Journalist, Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Operations, Travel / Cruise Industry Expert, EQUITY, NUJ, Broadcast ISDN 01733 345020 SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK e&oe > Updates are on the Website