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,
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
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
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.