Airbus hit by delays to Emirates A380 order

Airbus' flagship superjumbo faces another setback after a dispute between customer Emirates and engine maker Rolls-Royce delays delivery of 12 aircraft.

Airbus has announced delays in the delivery of 12 A380 aircraft to its major customer Emirates, following an agreement between the airline and engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce.

Six aircraft expected to be delivered in 2017 will now be delayed until 2018, with a further six subsequently delayed until 2018.

The delay stems from a disagreement between the superjumbo’s largest customer and the provider of its Trent 900 engines, which had suffered from “technical issues” according to Emirates president Tim Clark.

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In November 2016 Clark told a media briefing: “We want the engines as promised in the contract.” However, at the time it was not expected that these issues would delay delivery of the aircraft as it would delay the model’s supply chain.

At the time Clark also said: “We have made no hard and fast decisions about fleeting draw down. We're hoping to get a resolution to this very quickly.”

Rolls-Royce had responded: “We are working with Emirates and Airbus to meet the planned entry into service of the Trent-powered A380s within the Emirates fleet.”

As a result of this setback, Airbus has announced that it will accelerate “further fixed cost reduction initiatives … so the impact on break-even in 2017 is minimal”.

However, the Toulouse-headquartered giant maintained that its target to deliver about 12 A380s per year from 2018 remains on track.

It is another blow for Airbus and its flagship aircraft, earlier in 2016 chief operating officer Tom Williams admitted to the Telegraph that the programme “will never be profitable” because of multi-billion pound development costs.