Print 43 comment(s) - last by SaintSinner1.. on Oct 10 at 12:11 PM

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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RE: Airbus screw up
By sxr7171 on 10/6/2006 1:11:49 PM , Rating: 2
I think it is a setback for aviation as whole and that is sad. However, I echo your sentiments and I have always been pro-Boeing. So good for Boeing.

RE: Airbus screw up
By doctor sam adams on 10/6/2006 4:00:44 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, US companies are the ones we can trust!

RE: Airbus screw up
By Ringold on 10/7/2006 3:05:28 AM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't feel too bad about aviation, sxr7171.

There's so much more interesting things happening rather than some air-penis contest over who can make the biggest target for SAMs.

Boeing pushing fuel efficiency, now thats more interesting, and the next 10 years in smaller planes (VLJ's, turbines and pistons) will see some pretty sweet things happen with glass cockpits (G1000 seems standard fare already for new planes) and there will *have* to be a switch off 100LL sooner or later whether the 70yr old hangar rats want it or not. Either environmental reasons or high 100LL costs will force it. ATC will adopt whats already apparently being field-tested in Alaska, making for more efficiency, and.. well.. just lots of things! None of which Airbus has an impact on that Boeing doesn't take up the slack with.

I actually see Airbus' management failure as a plus for aviation, but indirectly; it's a decent example of the inherent weakness of mixing liberal/social morals with liberal/capitalist business practices (EU essentially bankrolling EADS; for what, nationalism? Some naive idea of creating competition and domestic jobs?). Boeing knows it either succeeds or dies, EADS knows big daddy will save the day no matter what, and hence, on the average, Boeing should always deliver more reliably than Airbus.


RE: Airbus screw up
By NT78stonewobble on 10/9/2006 5:11:10 AM , Rating: 2
I was just wondering how many planes have actually been shot down by a "Surface to Air Missile"?

And does it make up a large margin of the causes for airplane crashes?

I'm guessing no. So why mention it?

Boing might be pushing fuel efficiency. Well its nice to see something american actually care about the environment.

Oh wait, its about the bottomline anyway...

Regarding liberal/social morals and liberal/capitalist morals...

Are you saying that the US government does not have ANY toll barriers what so ever?

And won't you agree that eg. microsofts "monopoly" is just a prime example of a company doing good?

Why punish it then?

"Folks that want porn can buy an Android phone." -- Steve Jobs
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