First New A380 Order Of The Year
Airbus has received its first new order for the A380 superjumbo,
after a third delay to production was announced in October. On
Wednesday, Singapore Airlines (SIA) committed to buy nine
additional frames, bringing its total to 19 double-decker
"Singapore Airlines today signed agreements with Airbus for
purchase of a further nine A380s, with six more options," the
airline stated. Media reports indicate SIA also signed a deal to
lease 19 A330-300 twinjets from the manufacturer.
Singapore Airlines is launch customer for the A380. The new order was announced in July of
this year -- three months before Airbus confirmed it
would have to delay A380 deliveries once again in order to fix a
series of stubborn wiring issues.
There was some question after that whether SIA would keep its
existing orders -- nevermind order even more planes. Those
questions appear to be answered.
"Singapore Airlines also has reached settlement with Airbus on
issues relating to delays to deliveries of the A380. The terms of
the purchases and settlement are confidential between the parties,"
In its announcement of the new order, Singapore Airlines also
reaffirmed its confidence that Airbus will meet its new target
delivery date of October 2007.
"We're looking forward now to delivery in October and commencing
services very soon after," said SIA's chief executive officer, Chew
Choon Seng. The nine new aircraft are slated to begin delivery in
In related news, Airbus CEO Louis Gallois said in no uncertain
terms that Airbus will meet its schedule for the A380, despite its
less-than- stellar track record in that regard recently.
There will be "absolutely no further delay in A380 deliveries,"
Gallois told Dow Jones Newswires during a recent press
It appears other airlines may be ready to jump on the A380
bandwagon, as well. After several hints it would cancel its own
A380 order, on Tuesday Thai Airways said it is close to ordering
six more A380. Those orders, like the SIA announcement, would
follow a series of negotiations with Airbus over compensation for
While it's a safe bet that Airbus is not charging affected A380
customers anything near list prices -- and may actually be taking a
loss on these planes -- the European planemaker has weathered the
latest crisis in confidence with only one cancelled A380 order. By
any measure, that's a win.
Even the loss of FedEx's 10 A380 freighter
order in November may not prove to be the last word...
as FedEx has since hinted it may reorder several planes in a few
years, once the A380 program has gotten back on its feet.