UPS orders 10 new Airbus A380

11th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 11 (AFP) - The European consortium Airbus is consolidating its order book for the new A380 aircraft thanks to a highly symbolic US purchase a week before the official unveiling of the world's biggest passenger jet.

PARIS, Jan 11 (AFP) - The European consortium Airbus is consolidating its order book for the new A380 aircraft thanks to a highly symbolic US purchase a week before the official unveiling of the world's biggest passenger jet.

The aircraft maker, which is preparing to present the A380 in Toulouse next Tuesday amid great fanfare, is celebrating a new order for the super-jumbo from US package shipper United Parcel Service.

UPS announced Monday it had placed a firm order for 10 A380s, with an option on 10 more, and in a related decision cut its order for 90 A300 aircraft to 53.

The super-jumbo A380 has the capacity to carry three decks of cargo with container capacity of nearly 40,000 cubic feet (1,100 cubic meters) and a maximum structural payload of 330,000 pounds (150,000 kilograms).

It has a range of 5,600 nautical miles.

It is to come into service in 2008, two years after the double-decker passenger version.

UPS did not disclose the financial details of the order. But according to Airbus catalogue prices, it would amount to roughly USD 2.7 billion (EUR 2.1 billion).

The US order fleshes out the order book for the A380, which already had 129 firm orders and 10 options by end-November, the latest available Airbus figures show.

Airbus is to publish Wednesday its annual aircraft sales and orders data. Airbus's strong performance comes against a backdrop of an aviation slump in the United States, where few airline companies are still risking investment in their fleets.

Moreover, it is a new blow for Boeing, the US arch-rival that Airbus beat in aircraft deliveries in 2004 for the second straight year.

The A380, the target of Boeing's endless criticism that it is unsuited to the market, "will allow UPS to effectively meet the fast-growing demands of our customers across a variety of global trade lanes," said UPS airlines chief operating officer John Beystehner in announcing the deal Tuesday.

His praise of the plane's "exciting combination of payload and range" was bound to hearten Airbus's four partners - Britain, France, Germany and Spain - which have invested EUR 10 billion in the project.

The chief commercial officer of Airbus, John Leahy, predicted in mid-December that 10 new A380 orders would be finalised in early 2005.

He said more that 150 orders were expected by mid-year.

Presenting the A380 in Toulouse next week will be French President Jacques Chirac, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

Airbus is 80 percent owned by the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) and 20 percent by BAE Systems of Britain.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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