After some pretty hefty setbacks with its A380 superjumbo
program, Airbus was dealt another blow today by FedEx with the announcement
that the shipping company would cancel its orders for the A380-800F. FedEx has
originally signed on to purchase 10 of the superjumbos, but will
now instead purchase 15 Boeing 777s.
"The decision to purchase Boeing 777s was taken after
Airbus announced significant delays for delivery of A380s. Global package
demand continues to grow and we need the appropriate aircraft to meet that
demand," said Maury Lane, a spokesman at FedEx Express.
FedEx's first batch of four 777s will arrive in 2009 with
eight more coming in 2010. FedEx will take delivery of the remaining aircraft
in 2011 and has taken options to purchase at least 15 more planes. "We are
very pleased to meet the needs of such an important customer," said a
spokesman for Boeing.
Airbus announced back in
September that it was delaying its A380 due to problems with the plane's
wiring layout. In early October, Airbus announced that the
A380 would be delayed by at least a year.
When asked to comment on the FedEx announcement, an Airbus
spokesman remarked that the company "regrets FedEx's decision, but we understand
their need to urgently address capacity issues." The spokesman went on to
say "We still expect the A380 freighter to be a successful program from
the outset, although we did not expect demand to be very high at the
quote: I was an Air Traffic Controller when the first Airbus started flying in the USA. Very quickly they were nicknamed SCAREBUS!