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More delays in store for the superjumbo

Late last month, DailyTech reported that Airbus was delaying its A380 superjumbo airliner due to problems with wiring. On Wednesday, the company announced that it was delaying its entire A380 program by a full year. As a result, the first production A380 will not be delivered until October of 2007.

The news has disappointed many airliners including Singapore Airlines and Qantas. In fact, Airbus has to fork over $22 million USD to India’s KingFisher Airlines because of the delay. Malaysia Airlines, a company that has been in serious financial trouble lately, could cancel its order for six planes altogether or at the very least look for an interim solution. There’s also word that EADS may sell off a 20% stake in Airbus that it aquired from BAE.

Airbus is trying it best with damage control and it is offering some insight into the problem that it is having. The following is from a speech given by Christian Streiff Speech, Airbus President and CEO:

The issue of the electrical harnesses is extremely complex, with 530km of cables, 100,000 wires, and 40,300 connectors. It is twice as complex as for our next largest aircraft, the A340-600! And the depth of the problem was not fully understood in June. The full analysis over these past weeks has revealed it is much worse than expected.

The root cause of the issue is that there were incompatibilities in the development of the concurrent engineering tools to be used for the design of the electrical harnesses installation. Quite simply, while the A380 is the most-advanced and modern plane ever made, the wiring harness installation design package in the forward and rear fuselage could not keep pace with the rest of the aircraft programme. Also, the learning curve for wiring harness changes was too steep during the complex development phase. We have to update and harmonize the 3D- design tools and data base – and it will take time to do this.

On top of all of that, Rolls-Royce announced today that it will halt production of its Trent 900 engine and that it will deliver at most 30 engines to Airbus by the end of 2006. According to contractual obligations, Rolls-Royce will supply 48% of the engines used in the A380 -- the remaining 52% will be supplied by rival General Electric.

At this rate, the A380 will be entering service just ahead of Rolls-Royce-engined Boeing 787 Dreamliner which is due to go into service in 2008.

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By GoatMonkey on 10/6/2006 11:19:20 AM , Rating: 4
Isn't "Jumbo" enough to imply that it's a big plane? Is there really a need to call it "Super Jumbo"? Same thing goes for most computer products these days. Maybe the next plane will be the "Super Jumbo Extreme Edition".

RE: Name
By bob661 on 10/6/06, Rating: -1
RE: Name
By flyboy84 on 10/6/2006 11:56:15 AM , Rating: 2
This same convention applies to skyscrapers. Some are classified "jumbo" or "super jumbo" based on their relative size and time of construction. For example, the Empire State Building is considered a "super jumbo" skyscraper because it is of a certain height built during a certain time period.

RE: Name
By therealnickdanger on 10/6/2006 12:06:47 PM , Rating: 2
Star Destroyer VS Super Star Destroyer?

RE: Name
By Kuroyama on 10/6/2006 12:39:12 PM , Rating: 2
My favorite is the word "postmodernism". What's coming next, "postfuturism"?

Maybe after the "super jumbo" we'll have the "super big jumbo". And if they add a 7/11 selling "super big gulp" on our "super big jumbo" then we can go "super often" to the restroom during the "super long" flight from New York to Singapore.

RE: Name
By captainspazo on 10/6/2006 1:10:10 PM , Rating: 2
the reason is because the term jumbo is used to descrive the 747 when it was released, so they are calling it super jumbo as a marketing ploy against boeing

RE: Name
By hightower204 on 10/6/2006 1:30:12 PM , Rating: 2
A 'jumbo' in the aviation world is a Boeing 747. A380 is bigger than a 747, hence the name super jumbo.

RE: Name
By odobo on 10/6/2006 2:39:31 PM , Rating: 2
so when you go buy your clothes... do you ask why do we have XXL when we have XL and L already? why cant they just call XXL as L and XL as M and L as S?

hrmm... but then they will have to name the original S to XXS and the original XXS to XXXXS.....


RE: Name
By skeeter123 on 10/6/2006 3:40:50 PM , Rating: 2
Marty: Why don't you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?
Nigel: These go to eleven.

RE: Name
By Wwhat on 10/7/2006 10:08:08 AM , Rating: 2
they could have thought up another name not using 'jumbo' could they not, or hired someone with that immense uniue capability.

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