Things are not going well over at Airbus. After a couple of years where they could do no wrong (and Boeing seemed to do nothing right), it’s getting messy over in Europe. The company announced another delay for the double-decker A380, pushing launch back another 6 months. Singapore Airlines, the launch customer, will take delivery in early 2007 (instead of last month). Qantas and Emirates will have their deliveries pushed back to 2008, also 6-12 months later than expected. Singapore and Emirates are now seeking compensation from the manufacturer for the delays. (As you can imagine, each of these airlines had financial targets based on putting these 500+ seat aircraft into service. Delays are extremely costly. And nerds like me were sorta excited to go and fly on one of these sooner rather than later).
Meanwhile, there’s been a bit of a mess around the launch of the A350, which will compete with the rather successful Boeing 787. There’s been a public debate about the aircraft’s design and a number of revisions about the actual performance of the airplane. It’s gotten so bad that Airbus’ COO felt the need to come out and say that the "chaos" around the program must end. Add the uncertainty around the A350 to the uncertainty around the A380, and the near-term future of Airbus isn’t looking so hot. The team at Boeing is gloating, I’m sure.