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Sat, Sep 23, 2006

Korean Air Wants Airbus To Pay

Angst Grows Over Continued Delays For The A380 Program

In what is likely to be first of many unhappy customer reactions, Korean Air warned it intends to seek compensation from Airbus. This follows the planemaker's announcement of more delays in the A380 program.

Spokesmen for the carrier told Reuters, "We intend to seek compensation from Airbus. We have yet to decide when, how and how much. It will be clearer once Airbus clarifies its plans."

As ANN reported on Thursday, for the second time in less than three months, Airbus announced delays for their A380 superjumbo jet citing problems integrating the 300 miles of wiring in each airframe.

Korean Air placed an order for five of the superjumbos in June 2003 with the first deliveries scheduled for February and March of 2008. Spokesmen for EADS, Airbus' parent, says they haven't evaluated the full impact of the delays on delivery dates or final costs.

Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines -- slated to get the first A380s off the production line -- is exercising patience. A company spokesman said, "We're in contact with Airbus. We're now waiting to hear some firm details from them about the delays and how they will impact on us."

Although delays are assured, neither EADS nor Airbus know exactly when the A380 will begin shipping. EADS says it will likely be a few months before the impact of all the problems can be accurately translated into a delivery date.

Although the first announced delays in the problem-plagued A380 program resulted in the ouster of Airbus CEO Gustav Humbert, there is no indication of whose head will roll this time, if any. But that possibility would seem to be more likely if more customers react as Korean Air has.

FMI: www.koreanair.com

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